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Article

Masatomo Kawai

[Gyokukei]

(1348–c. 1420).

Japanese Zen monk, scholar, calligrapher, poet and painter. He began his training as a monk at Nanzenji in Kyoto, under Shun’oku Myōha, the nephew and disciple of Musō Sōseki, one of the leading Zen prelates of the Muromachi period (1333–1568). His other teachers included the Zen recluse Shakushitsu Genkō and Gidō Shūshin, under whom he studied literature. A trusted adviser of the fourth Ashikaga shogun, Yoshimochi, Gyokuen was appointed to the prestigious abbacies of Kenninji (c. 1409) and Nanzenji (1413) in Kyoto. His true wish, however, was to retire from the world, and in 1420, after a disagreement with Yoshimochi, he left Kyoto to lead a life of seclusion. An accomplished poet, Gyokuen also brushed colophons on many shigajiku (poem-painting scrolls) of the period, including Josetsu’s Catching a Catfish with a Gourd (c. 1413–15; Kyoto, Myōshinji). His own painting, which shows the influence of the mid-14th-century Chinese priest–painter Xue Chuang and of Tesshū Tokusai, strongly reflects his literary disposition. He is especially well known for his subdued monochrome ink paintings of orchids (emblems of moral virtue), 30 of which have survived (...

Article

[ho Ch’usa, among others]

(b Yesan, Ch’ungch’ŏng Province, 1786; d Kwach’on, Kyŏnggi Province, 1856).

Korean calligrapher, painter, scholar and poet. He was also a lay Buddhist. Born into a family related by marriage to the imperial household, from an early age he showed his talent for calligraphy, studying with Pak Che-ga. Kim had an extremely successful civil service career before being exiled in 1840 and again in 1848.

In 1809 he accompanied his father on a mission to China and went to Beijing, where he met such eminent scholars as Wen Fanggang (1733–1818) and Ruan Yuan. The scholarship of the Qing period (1644–1911), in particular the northern stele school of calligraphy (see China, People’s Republic of §IV 2., (vii), (b)), which chose as its calligraphic models the stelae of the Han (206 bcad 220) and Northern Wei (ad 386–534) dynasties, made a deep impression on Kim. His own style of calligraphy was characterized by vigorous strokes with a strong contrast between thick and thin lines. This style, known as the Ch’usa (i.e. Kim Chŏng-hŭi) style, was highly influential in Korea and well respected in China (...

Article

Guanxiu  

Joan Stanley-Baker

[Kuan-hsiu; original family name Jiang; zi Deyin; hao Chanyue

(b Lanxi, Zhejiang Province, ad 832; d Chengdu, Sichuan Province, 912).

Chinese painter, calligrapher, poet and Buddhist monk. During the reign (ad 901–3) of the Tang emperor Zhaozong (reg ad 888–904), he visited Sichuan Province and was honoured by the King of Shu, who bestowed on him the title of Master. At that time, Daoism and Buddhism flourished in Sichuan, prompting many temple-building projects and giving an unprecedented impetus to the liturgical arts and figurative painting. Of the 50 or more painters recorded as then working in Sichuan, most were producing Daoist and Buddhist figure paintings.

According to contemporary sources, Guanxiu deviated from current fashions in depicting the Buddhist luohan (Skt arhats; enlightened beings) in his paintings with Tatar features and Indian faces. Like those of his predecessor, Yan Liben, these ascetics had long, trailing eyebrows, enormous, deep-set eyes, huge ears and bulbous noses. Guanxiu said that his inspiration ‘came from dreams’. Although he is said to have used only ink wash, his dexterity in that medium produced the effect of a full-colour spectrum. He reputedly sat in meditation in a room perfumed by incense and, when a genuine vision of the Buddha came to him, leapt up and rapidly depicted two or three ...

Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Born 1895, in Kyushu; died 1933.

Painter, poet.

Koga Harue trained as a Buddhist monk, subsequently becoming a poet and then a painter. Influenced by Paul Klee and Giorgio de Chirico, he played an important role in the development of early 20th-century Japanese painting, introducing echoes of the modernist movements in Europe, such as cubism, futurism, constructivism and especially surrealism, which he can be said to represent. His pictures from the late 1920s are full of unusual and bizarre figuration. He exhibited regularly at the Nika (two disciplines - sculpture and painting) Salon and was selected for the 4th Nikakai Exhibition in ...

Article

Michael Curschmann

The medieval term mappa mundi (also forma mundi, historia/istoire) covers a broad array of maps of the world of which roughly 1100 survive. These have resisted systematic classification, but the clearly dominant type is one that aims at comprehensively symbolistic representation. Its early, schematic form is a disc composed of three continents surrounded and separated from one another by water (“T-O Map”) and associated with the three sons of Noah: Asia (Shem) occupies all of the upper half, Europe (Japhet) to the left and Africa (Ham) to the right share the lower half. Quadripartite cartographic schemes included the antipodes as a fourth continent, but the tripartite model was adopted by the large majority of the more developed world maps in use from the 11th century on and—with important variations—well into the Renaissance. While details were added as available space permitted, the Mediterranean continued to serve as the vertical axis and, with diminishing clarity, the rivers Don and Nile as the horizontal one. The map also continues to be ‘oriented’ towards Asia, where paradise sits at the very top. A circular ocean forms the perimeter and not infrequently the city of Jerusalem constitutes its centre....

Article

Elizabeth Horton Sharf

[Jifei Ruyi; Lin]

(b Fuzhou, Fujian Prov., 1616; d Nagasaki, 1671).

Chinese monk, poet and calligrapher. He became a major figure in the Ōbaku Zen lineage in Japan. Along with Ingen Ryūki and Mokuan Shōtō, he is extolled as one of the ‘Three Brushes of Ōbaku’ (Jap. Ōbaku no sanpitsu), master Zen calligraphers (see also Japan §VII 2., (iv)). Jifei was ordained at the age of 17 under Feiyin Tongrong (1593–1661), and at 21 he was accepted as a disciple by Ingen, abbot of the Zen temple Wanfusi at Mt Huangbo (Fujian Prov.), where he became a colleague of Mokuan, another outstanding disciple of Ingen. In 1651, after a brush with death by asphyxiation while fighting a forest fire behind the temple had inspired his sudden ‘enlightenment’, Sokuhi received ‘dharma transmission’ (recognition as an heir in the spiritual lineage) from Ingen and the following year was promoted to high monastic office. About this time he became abbot of Chongshengsi on Mt Xuefeng (Fujian Prov.). In late ...

Article

Karen M. Gerhart

[Ōtagaki Nobu]

(b Kyoto, 1791; d Kyoto, 1875).

Japanese poet, calligrapher, potter and painter. Shortly after her birth, she was adopted by Ōtagaki Mitsuhisa who worked at Chion’in, an important Jōdo (Pure Land) sect temple in Kyoto. In 1798 she was sent to serve at Kameoka Castle in Tanba, where she studied poetry, calligraphy and martial arts. She returned to Kyoto in 1807 and was married to a young samurai named Mochihisa. They had three children, all of whom died shortly after birth; in 1815 Mochihisa also died. In 1819 Nobu remarried, but her second husband died in 1823. After enduring the tragic loss of two husbands and all her children, Nobu, only 33 years old, cut her hair off and became a nun, at which time she adopted the name Rengetsu (‘lotus moon’). She lived with her stepfather, who had also taken vows, near Chion’in. After his death in 1832 Rengetsu began to make pottery, which she then inscribed with her own ...

Article

Ryōkan  

Cecil H. Uyehara

(b Echigo Prov. [now Niigata Prefect.], 1758; d 1831).

Japanese Zen monk, calligrapher and poet. He became a monk at the age of 18 at the temple Kōshōji, Okayama Prefecture, but, being a wanderer for most of his life, never attained high monastic rank. He is known for his poetry in Japanese and Chinese and his individualistic, indeed idiosyncratic, swiftly brushed style of calligraphy and is one of the most respected calligraphers of the late Edo period, receiving more attention and study than his contemporaries Maki Ryōko and Ichikawa Beian. His modern popularity has given rise to an increasing number of Ryōkan forgeries. Most of his extant calligraphies consist of letters and poems in his own hand, much of the subject-matter deriving from his everyday experiences, as for example the letter brushed in ink on paper between 1806 and 1810 (Tokyo, N. Mus.). Ryōkan studied the 100-character text by the Chinese calligrapher Huaisu, the calligraphy of the legendary 4th-century ...

Article

Elizabeth Horton Sharf

[Yinyuan Longqi]

(b Fuqing County, Fujian Province, 1592; d Uji, 1673).

Chinese monk, poet and calligrapher, active in Japan. Along with his disciples Mokuan Shōtō and Sokuhi Nyoitsu, he was extolled as one of the Ōbaku no Sanpitsu (‘Three Brushes of Ōbaku’), the three principal calligraphers of the Ōbaku Zen school. He was a leading southern Chinese Buddhist master who, not long after the end of the Ming period (1368–1644), emigrated to Nagasaki where, in the early 17th century, a community of Chinese merchants had established three Chinese Buddhist temples. In Japan Ingen quickly became a religious figure of national reputation, and was later celebrated as the founding patriarch of the Japanese Ōbaku Zen lineage (see Buddhism §III 10.). A search for his father, who had disappeared when he was five, brought him at the age of 20 to a temple on Mt Putuo (Zhoushan Archipelago, off the coast of Zhejiang Prov.), where, it is recorded, he served tea to the monks. It was not until he was about 28, however, after the death of his mother, that he was able to be ordained as a Buddhist monk at his family temple, Wanfusi, on Mt Huangbo. He trained under the eminent monks Miyun Yuanwu (...

Article

Saga  

Samuel C. Morse

(b ad 786; reg 809–23; d 842).

Japanese emperor, poet, calligrapher and patron of the Shingon sect of Esoteric Buddhism. Along with Kūkai and Tachibana no Hayanari, he is regarded as one of the Sanpitsu (Three Brushes; master calligraphers) of the Heian period (ad 794–1185) (see Japan §VII 2., (ii)). He was the second son of Emperor Kanmu (reg 781–806), who founded the capital Heian (now Kyoto) in 794, and Empress Otomuro (ad 760–90). In 809 he succeeded his half-brother, Emperor Heizei (reg 806–9), to the throne as the 52nd emperor of Japan, and although he abdicated in 823, Saga remained the most powerful figure at court until his death. Politically the most significant event of his career occurred in 810 when Heizei attempted to return the centre of government to the old capital of Heijō (now Nara). Saga and his allies quickly crushed the rebellion, thereby assuring a pre-eminent cultural role for Kyoto in subsequent Japanese history. Saga had a deep passion for Chinese culture. He actively promoted the use of Chinese modes of dress and the adoption of Chinese nomenclature for the various structures of the imperial palace. He wrote accomplished poetry in Chinese and was responsible for the compilation of two imperial anthologies, the ...