late 1600s–early 1700s
Part of a set. See all set records
Triptych of hanging scrolls: ink on paper
Overall: 210.2 x 68.6 cm (82 3/4 x 27 in.)
Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1989.8
Hotei was a Chan (Zen) monk living in China during the 900s who became a legendary figure in Japan in the 1300s. At that time a popular cult praising him sprang up, extending beyond Zen to other religious communities. This rare triptych embraces a central Zen icon with flanking Daoist images, thereby suggesting the compatibility, rather than the exclusivity, of these two creeds. Hotei also enjoys popularity in Japan as a kind of folk figure, which explains his mirthful expression in Japanese paintings. The Daoist figures in contrast appear eccentric and foreign, in keeping with Daoist lore. When these paintings came to the museum their appearance was compromised by poor quality textile mountings, and cracked paper surfaces needing restoration. Following the cleaning of the paper surfaces and the repair of the lifting surface areas, each scroll was completely remounted. No inpainting was done, thereby preserving the original ink values and brushstrokes.
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