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Zen and Ink Painting | 13th–16th century

"Zen and Ink Painting | 13th–16th century"

Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 3  August 17, 2021 (Tue) - September 26, 2021 (Sun)

Verse of Praise Written on the Anniversary of Nan'in Kokushi's Death (detail)
By Seisetsu Shōchō, Nanbokuchō period, 1337

Zen Buddhism was introduced from China, and had widespread influence on culture in Japan. Zen does not stress elaborate rituals or the study of sacred texts. Rather, it teaches that meditation and daily tasks, even cooking and cleaning, are the way to spiritual enlightenment. In the 13th century, monks brought Zen to Japan as a complete school of Buddhist thought.

These monks also brought the latest cultural practices from China. One of them was ink painting, which uses expressive lines and delicate gradations to portray nature and people. Ink painting spread beyond Zen temples and became a major artistic tradition in Japan.

Another practice was calligraphy by Zen masters, which was prized for its spiritual and aesthetic value. Along with the painting and calligraphy shown here, Zen Buddhism influenced tea ceremony, garden design, and many other forms of art.

Major Work(s) on Exhibit 2 results
Designation Name Amount Creation Excavation Period Acquisition Ownership Comment
_MD_RECOMMEND Verse of Praise Written on the Anniversary of Nan'in Kokushi's Death By Seisetsu Shōchō (1274–1339) Nanbokuchō period, 1337 (Engen 2) B-2747
_MD_RECOMMEND Important Cultural Property Historical Figures Attributed to Kanō Motonobu (1477–1559), Formerly sliding door paintings that decorated the abbot's study of Daisen-in, a subtemple of Daitoku-ji Temple, Kyoto Muromachi period, 16th century A-293
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