About the Deer Scroll
Poem Scroll with Deer, also known as Deer Scroll, was created by two prominent Japanese artists, calligrapher Hon’ami Koetsu and painter Tawaraya Sōtatsu. It represents the fall season, combining the image of deer, a symbol for autumn in Japan, with the calligraphy of a section of poems that also refer to autumn.
About the Heike Nokyou sutras
The original Heike Nokyo sutras (National Treasure, preserved by Itsukushima Shrine) were donated to Itsukushima Shrine in 1164 by the warlord Taira no Kiyomori (1118-81). The frontispieces, endpapers and both sides of the scroll are abundantly decorated with pictorial script and illustrations in gold and silver. The sutra texts themselves are inscribed in a combination of gold, silver, verdigris and indigo, and even the scroll fittings and label exhibit great attention to detail. These decorated sutras are peerless in their luxury.
The embellishments on the Heike Nokyo sutra scrolls were featured in the Illustrated Catalogue of Itsukushima Shrine Treasures, published in 1842.
About Tanaka Ikko
Born in Nara, Japan in 1930, Ikko Tanaka created a style of graphic design that fused modernism principles and aesthetics with the Japanese tradition. As a child he studied art and as a young adult he was involved in modern drama and theatrical study groups. In 1963 he formed Tanaka Design Studio where he worked for corporations such as Mazda, Hanae Mori, Issey Miyake and the International Garden and Greenery Exhibition.
He is most well-known for his poster design for the Nihon Buyo performance by the Asian Performing Arts Institute. The poster (pictured above) shows his fusion of modernist sensibilities and traditional Japanese culture through the simplified illustration of a geisha. He designed, among other things, posters, logos, packaging and annual reports. Among his wide ranging work, his designs for the symbols for the Expo ’85 in Tsukuba and the World City Expo Tokyo ’96 garnered much attention. He died in 2002 of a heart attack at the age of 71.