Temples & Torii Gates

I’ve always been fascinated with the landscape and culture of Japan. I wrote about it a little in my influences page here. It’s lovely to see that i’m not the only one… as the Mt Fuji painting created for my World Series has proved extremely popular. With the #Artistsupportpledge running at the moment it seemed like the perfect opportunity to create some smaller paper cut studies of Japanese temples and shrines. Mostly for my own pleasure, but also in the hope that it proved escapism for others suffering wanderlust. Here are a few of my recent studies inspired by Japan…

Rurikoji, Yamaguchi City

Rurikoji Temple Yamaguchi City - Illustration by Jonathan Chapman
Enjoyed creating this one! The lush greens seemed to pop a little more from the black background. And the temple building rises nicely from behind the foreground tree layer. It was an ache to cut out! But I love the effect it made when it finally came together.

Rurikoji (瑠璃光寺) is a Buddhist temple in Yamaguchi City, best known for its five-storied pagoda that is a national treasure. Built in 1442, the pagoda is ranked among Japan’s three greatest temples. The grounds of Rurikoji are also known as Kozan Park (香山公園).

Rurikoji Temple Yamaguchi City’, an original acrylic and ink painting on cut paper. Presented in a 25 x 25cm box frame.

Torii Gate at Itsukushima

Torii Gate at Itsukushima - Illustration by Jonathan Chapman
The centuries-old Itsukushima Shrine (厳島神社) on Miyajima is the source of both the island’s fame and its name. The shrine and its torii gate are unique for being built over water, seemingly floating in the sea during high tide. The shrine complex consists of multiple buildings, including a prayer hall, a main hall and a noh theater stage, which are connected by boardwalks and supported by pillars above the sea.

Torii Gate at Itsukushima’ an original acrylic and ink painting on cut paper. Presented in a 25 x 25cm box frame.

Golden Pavilion Kinkakuji

Golden Pavilion Kinkakuji temple, Kyoto - Illustration by Jonathan
Kinkakuji (金閣寺) is a Zen temple in northern Kyoto whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. Formally known as Rokuonji, the temple was the retirement villa of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and according to his will it became a Zen temple of the Rinzai sect after his death in 1408. Kinkakuji is an impressive structure built overlooking a large pond, and is the only building left of Yoshimitsu’s former retirement complex.

Golden Pavilion Kinkakuji Temple‘ an original acrylic and ink painting on cut paper. Presented in a 25 x 25cm box frame.

Pagoda at Kiyomizu-dera

Pagoda at Kiyomizudera - Illustration by Jonathan
Kiyomizudera (清水寺) is one of the most celebrated temples of Japan. It was founded in 780 on the site of the Otowa Waterfall in the wooded hills east of Kyoto, and derives its name from the fall’s pure waters. Best known for its wooden stage that juts out from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below. The stage affords visitors a nice view of the numerous cherry and maple trees that erupt in a sea of colour during the spring.

Pagoda at Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto’ my original acrylic and ink painting on cut paper. Presented in a 25 x 25cm box frame. Follow the #paperdiorama or #japan tag on the blog for more illustrations like these. I’d love to hear more of your suggestions too. Drop me a line using the contact form or say hello online with facebooktwitter or instagram.

These paintings have also been included on the artist support pledge tag (#artistsupportpledge).