A brisk range of brushstrokes of varied modulation and tonality captures the humble, begrudging
essence of a monk repairing a garment. There is nothing ethereal, calm, or-in contemporary terms-stylishly "Zen-like" about this slightly frazzled, scruffy monk; he is totally of this world,
striving against the treacheries of the flesh toward an enlightenment that may ultimately be touched by
the feel of the thread’s texture on his tongue. Lee grasped this and the skill with which the essential
notion was rendered. The painter, Kao, assimilated Chinese works and created a truly indigenous
Japanese ink-painting movement. The energy characteristic of his best work suggests not merely
technical virtuosity but an infusion of insight from a dedicated religious spirit.
John L. Severance Fund 1962.163