“Whilst in Kyoto, either in 1905 or subsequently during the building of the Imperial Hotel (1916-1922), [Frank Lloyd] Wright would probably have visited some of the famous sites in the region, one of the best known is Lake Biwa, which lies just east [of Kyoto].
“And interestingly, the distinctive form of the Ukimi-do, a small Buddhist chapel which projects out in the southern end of this lake at the temple of Mangetsu-ji, seems to have reappeared in the wedding chapel which Wright designed for the Claremont Hotel, in Berkeley, California, during the 1950s.”
– Frank Lloyd Wright and Japan: The Role of Traditional Japanese Art and Architecture in the Work of Frank Lloyd Wright, by Kevin Nute, 1993
The Ukimido or Foating Hall of Katata (Otsu City, near Kyoto) is a temple with a large garden at the base of Lake Biwa, far removed from the town and providing a picturesque view of the lake. The Floating Hall was built over the water and when a person is seated, it has been described as giving the effect of floating on the water.
Ukimido was popular with writers and artists and was counted as one of the “Eight Scenes of Omi”, a ukiyo-e by Hiroshige and other woodblock artists. The scene featuring Ukimido is called “Geese Alighting at Katata” and usually shows the Floating Hall in the light of the late sun.
The temple is officially called Mangetsuji (Full Moon Temple) and is entered via an impressive “Dragon Gate”. Ukimido was originally founded in 995 by the priest Genshin from nearby Mt Hiei. The Thousand-Buddha Hall (all Amida statues) stands at the spot where lake Biwa is at its narrowest and served as prayer for the safety of ships on the Lake.
This woodblock by Toyohisa Inoue is part of his series Omi Hakkei (Eight Views of Omi, Lake Biwa).
About the Woodblock
This woodblock is a large oban-sized print in excellent condition. The paper is firm and the deckle is still on one side. The artist’s seal and signature in pencil are on the lower margin, along with the date of 1974 and numbered 20/100. The print itself is self-printed by the artist as part of the Sosaku-Hanga movement.
About the Artist
Toyohisa Inoue (1926-1989) was born in Kyoto and was a student of Tomikichiro Tokuriki. This artist is regarded as a representative of the Sosaku Hanga art movement. His subjects are still life, flowers and scenes from Kyoto.