This painting illustrates the Zen ideal of cultivating one’s spirit through all moments of life, from the mundane to the marvelous. The monk pictured is simply mending his robes, but it is a meditative activity. A “mending clothes” image would typically form a pair with another on the theme of “reading by moonlight.” While the seals on the painting were added at a later date, similar seals appear on other ink figures and bird-and-flower compositions.
Monk Mending Clothes in the Morning Sun (Chōyō Hotetsuzu)
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