Koryuji Temple has been caught in fire many times and many of its cathedrals and treasures have been burned. However, there are some works of art that miraculously escaped the fire and have been stored as temple treasures until today. Here are some typical ones.
"Shaka-Nehanzu(the scene of Buddha's Nirvana) " and other works by Hakyo Kakizaki
Hakyo Kakizaki (1764-1926) is a painter and samurai in the late Edo period. The fifth son of the Matsumae feudal lord, Sukehiro. As a painter, he studied the Nanjo school and the Maruyama school, and his masterpiece "Ishu Retsuzo" (currently partly stored in the Besancon Museum in France) was enough to be seen by Emperor Kokaku.
The largest of such works by Hakyo Kakizaki is "Shaka-nehanzu(Buddha's Nirvana)". It was drawn at the request of the Rev.Zenkai, who was the 11th chief priest of Koryuji, and is said to be one of the best masterpieces of Hakyo. A pair of double widths, each width 300 cm long and 140 cm wide,
The sign is written as following:
"In September 1911, I Hirotoshi Kakizaki paint this for the 11th chief Zenkai. "
This piuture was designated as a tangible cultural property of Hokkaido in 1968, and is exhibited only from April 1st to 15th every year.
In addition to this, three Hakyo works stored.
"Kikaku-zu(the picture of a turtle and a crane" (pair)
"Shiji-keisyokuzu(The scene flowers in four seasons broom at the same time)"
"Rakanzu(A portrait of Arhat)"
Hakuin Ekaku's brush "鍾馗 Shoki"
Hakuin Ekaku (1685-1768) is a Rinzai-Zen priest. Born in Suruga (now Shizuoka Prefecture), he became a Rinzai-Zen priest at the age of 15. After traveling around the country and practicing, he returned to his temple Shoinji at the age of 33. he started working on calligraphy and painting after his 60th birthday.
His paintings, showing his inflexible state that transcends the apparent technique of self-education, has been evaluated overseas.
The theme that Hakuin liked to paint is the figure of "Shoki(Zhong Kui)". Zhong Kui is popular as a god who drives an evil away, and is respected as a guardian deity of children. Originally, he was a real person in China who aimed for the Imperial Examination, but failed repeatedly and committed suicide in the palace to be ashamed of it. However, for some reason, he appeared in the dream of the Emperor who was suffered from a serious illness, and when he ousted the evil spirit suffering the Emperor, his illness was cured, So the Emperor painted the figure of Zhong Kui to the painter to thank him. It was honored, and since then he has been loved by the common people as an evil-driving guardian.
Hakuin Ekaku felt impressed this legend and drew many paintings on the theme of Zhong Kui.
He drew him as a symbol of Bodhicitta.
It is not clear when this picture was transmitted to Koryuji, but it is now carefully stored as a treasure of this temple.