We will not be on this earth forever. Our time here is brief. Perhaps we will leave beauty for those who come after us to enjoy. It may be our wisdom, or it may be our art. I grew up with a print of this beautiful wood cut by Utagawa Hiroshige. A little girl stared and stared at this beautiful image of snow over Edo, as Tokyo was known then. Little did she know then that she would come to follow the teachings of the Buddha to whom this temple was built, when she was a grown woman. The beauty with which we adorn our homes and our lives can have amazing influence. May we choose carefully.
Kinryuzan Temple, Asakusa (Asakusa Kinryuzan), No. 99 from One Hundred Famous View of Edo
The color scheme of this composition—red on white—is reserved for propitious occasions, in this case the beginning of winter. The place is the entrance to the temple of the Buddhist deity Kannon in Asakusa, the oldest and most venerable Buddhist temple in Edo. Formally known as Kinryūzan Sensōji, it dates back to 628, when two brothers discovered a tiny gold image of Kannon in their net while fishing on the Sumida River. The image was enshrined here, and over the centuries the temple became the object of a widespread popular following that remains strong today. As with all popular temples in Hiroshige’s time, the Asakusa Kannon Temple was also a major entertainment center.
From the collection of the Brooklyn Museum.
Yes, may we choose very carefully.