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Listening to the Wind in the Pines

Listening to the Wind in the Pines

1400s

Ikkyū Sōjun 一休 宗純

(Japanese, 1394-1481)

Hanging scroll; ink on paper

Painting only: 76.8 x 32 cm (30 1/4 x 12 5/8 in.); Including mounting: 153.7 x 38.1 cm (60 1/2 x 15 in.)

Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1985.89

Location

Did you know?

The word mountain, appearing in the title to the poem on this painting, can also refer to a temple.

Description

A monk sits in contemplation below an overhang covered with pine. The poem, titled "Monk in the Mountains Listening to the Wind in the Pines," refers to two Chinese Chan (Zen) Buddhist monks active in the ninth century. It may be translated as follows:

Why must the Zen of Rinzai (Linji Yixuan) and Tokusan (Deshan Xuanjian) reside in a single temple for thirty years?
Once he's solved his kōan, (the monk) ends his practice and falls asleep in the quietness of the wind among the tall pines. (translated by Osvaldo Mercuri)

According to an inscription following the poem, both painting and verse were done by an eminent Japanese Buddhist monk known for revitalizing the Kyoto temple Daitokuji.

See also

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