The disciple Subhuti holds a deep understanding of emptiness or the void (Sunyata). In 1939, Munakata began work on his renowned series, Ten Great Disciples of Buddha. Carved from katsura wood, each disciple measured over three feet tall. Rendering sharp, graphic lines and embracing white space, Munakata traded hand coloring for a boldly graphic style, as contemporary as it was ancient. He did not seek to replicate the personas of the specific disciples; instead, he sought to create distinct personalities, each distinguished with the dignity he admired in Buddhist sculpture. Although it is thought that Munakata carved the entire series without any preliminary sketches, in reality, he worked on the disciples for over a year and a half. During this time, he sought inspiration and artistic mindfulness before carving the blocks with his characteristic fervor. He worked to the very edge of each block, such that toes and heads brush the edge of the block. Though the names of the disciples were in mind as he worked, he waited to assign identities until all prints were complete. Composed of ten disciples and two bodhisattvas, this twelve print series stirred international praise, winning First Prize in printmaking at the annual print exhibition in Lugano, Switzerland in 1952, the 1955 Sao Paulo Biennial, as well as the 1956 Venice Biennale. While personal victories, this acclaim carried great national significance as well. Though designed in 1939, Munakata printed impressions throughout his life, each time he felt the world needed it.
THIS WORK IS ONLY OFFERED AS A SET IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE NINE OTHER WORKS FROM THE SERIES THE TEN DISCIPLES OF BUDDHA (JPR1-63115, JPR1-63122, JPR1-63125, JPR1-63127, JPR1-63117, JPR1-63116, JPR1-63119, JPR1-63126, JPR1-63123, JPR1-63121, JPR1-63114).