(Chinese, late 1000s–early 1100s)
Hanging scroll; ink and light color on silk
Image: 92.4 x 40.5 cm (36 3/8 x 15 15/16 in.); Overall: 171.9 x 55.1 cm (67 11/16 x 21 11/16 in.); with knobs: 171.9 x 60.5 cm (67 11/16 x 23 13/16 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1974.29
A native of Hangzhou, the priest Dazhi was known for his eloquent exposition of Buddhist doctrines and for his success in winning many converts.
Monk Yuanzhao, with the honorific title Dazhi Lüshi, Great Wisdom Master of Vinaya, is depicted here as an itinerant monk, holding his alms bowl in the left and staff in the right. In 1142, Emperor Gaozong had bestowed Yuanzhao with a posthumous title, mentioned in the inscription, which suggests that the portrait was made after the master’s death. A master of the Lü sect of Buddhism, with a calm benevolent smile on his face, Yuanzhao was active on Mount Tiantai and in Hangzhou. Later, Liu Tao, a southerner from Changxing, added the inscription.
The eulogy reads:
Dignified he is, perfect in his upasampada [ordination of a monk]. His appearance is like his mind. Uncompromising and aloof. His mind is like his appearance. To say he is square, he proves to be round. He looks timid, yet his spirit is unbound. Having no attachment, and holding no reins, men and deities alike take refuge in him. —translated by Wai-Kam Ho
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