Handscroll; ink on paper
Image: 28.6 x 64.1 cm (11 1/4 x 25 1/4 in.); Overall with knobs: 115.6 x 73.8 cm (45 1/2 x 29 1/16 in.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert T. Gow 2003.353
This spontaneous, bold calligraphy style is characteristic of members of the Japanese Obaku sect of Chan Buddhism (Huangbo in Chinese), which was introduced to Japan by Chinese monks in the 1600s. The monk Yueshan immigrated to Japan from the Chinese province of Fujian, taking a priestly post at Mampukuji, the headquarters of the Obaku sect in Japan. He later became the seventh abbot of the distinguished temple.
Yueshan’s calligraphy features rounded characters that allow him to fuse strokes and characters in speedy brush movements. Here the text begins with the large character chu (“the beginning”), the initial focus of meditation on the text: The dragon murmurs after sunset. The tiger roars before dawn.
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