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Letter from Bokusai to Monk Kesso

Letter from Bokusai to Monk Kesso


Motsurin Jōtō 没倫 紹等

(Japanese, d. 1492)

Hanging scroll; ink on paper

Image: 24.7 x 42 cm (9 3/4 x 16 9/16 in.); Overall: 110.8 x 60.7 cm (43 5/8 x 23 7/8 in.)

Gift of Alan Carter Covell and Kyu J. Pak-Covell in honor of Dr. Jon Carter Covell 1991.33



The Zen monk-painter Bokusai resided at the influential Daitoku-ji temple in Kyoto. His portrayals of Zen patriarchs are among the most dynamic representations of their kind in the history of Japanese ink painting. There was a variety of surface damage that marred the letter: lifting, tears, discoloration, and poorly executed repairs done at the time the previous owners remounted the piece. This recent restoration corrects those trouble spots, strengthens the backing paper supports, and introduces a more appropriate combination of textile materials for such a distinguished artifact left by an eminent Zen monk-painter of the 1400s.

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