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What happens when you cross Nintendo’s Super Mario with a respected art form from Japanese history? Is it a brand new Mario Paint game? Nope, although that would be pretty cool.

What you actually get is the famous Rimpa folding screen “Wind and Thunder Godsremade with Mario and Luigi. The results are so fantastic that it’s being put on display at a special exhibit at the Art Museum Eki Kyoto. Join us after the jump for all the juicy Mario art details.

The Rimpa school of Japanese painting dates back to the 17th century when it was created by Hon’ami Koetsu and Tawaraya Sotatsu. It was the latter who created the most famous piece done in the style, the “Fujin Raijin-zu” or “Wind and Thunder Gods”. This pair of epic folding screens depicts the two gods looking battle-ready, prepared to take on anyone who dares to cross their path. The screens are currently on display at the Kyoto National Museum and are regarded as national treasures.

▼ You, with the camera! Let’s go!

rinpa 3Flickr/photoantenna

In order to celebrate 400 years of Rimpa and 30 years of Super Mario Bros., Japanese video game giant Nintendo teamed up with Yamamoto Taro, one of the modern successors of Rimpa, to create a new masterpiece with a twist.

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Mario and Luigi are dressed up like the old wind and thunder gods with flowing robes and cool god-like hair. Yamamoto painstakingly created the new folding screens strictly following the Rimpa techniques and you can really appreciate the bold outlines and striking color schemes represented on the modern remake.

You can get up close to the real thing when it goes on display as part of an exhibit that celebrates 400 years of Rimpa at the Art Museum Eki Kyoto located at the JR Kyoto Isetan department store on the seventh floor. Attendees can catch a glimpse of this piece of gaming art alongside other Rimpa masterpieces for a limited time only. Don’t miss your chance to see a brand new “national treasure” before it is whisked away for safe keeping in the secret vaults deep below Nintendo headquarters.

Source: Hachima Kiko
Images: Nintendo