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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

Stephen Addiss

[Hyakudō, Kohaku]

(b Taniguchi, Mino Prov. [now Gifu Prefect.], 1750; d Shōfukuji, Fukuoka Prefect., 1838).

Japanese Zen monk, painter and calligrapher. Of later Japanese artists in the Zenga (‘Zen painting’; see Japan §VI 4., (vii)) tradition, he is perhaps the best-known in the Western world.

Born to a farming family, he became a monk at the age of ten at Seitaiji in Mino Province and at 19 began studies with the outstanding Zen teacher Gessen Zenne (1701–81) at the Tokian in Nagata (near Kamakura), continuing until the latter’s death. Sengai reached enlightenment by meditating on the kōan (Zen conundrum) ‘Why did Bodhidharma [Jap. Daruma; the first Zen patriarch] come from the west?’, and then went on a pilgrimage from one Zen master (angya) to another throughout central Japan. He settled for a time in Mino, but was forced to leave after speaking out against the ruling daimyo’s policies, which he felt oppressed the farmers.

In 1788 Sengai accepted an invitation from Taishitsu, another of Gessen’s students, to travel to Kyushu, where he soon became abbot of the Rinzai-sect temple–monastery Shōfukuji, the oldest Zen monastery in Japan. He succeeded in renovating this temple, and his strict Zen practice and kind heart made him well known and loved throughout Japan and the subject of many legends. He retained the post of abbot until ...

Article

Japanese, 18th – 19th century, male.

Born 1737; died 1812.

Painter.

Gyokuzan was a painter from Osaka. He was promoted to the rank of hokkyo, a title meaning ‘bridge of Buddhist law’ initially given to Buddhist monks but later becoming an honorific given to other worthy members of society, such as artists. He illustrated many historical narratives, notably the ...

Article

Japanese, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 1872, in Okayama Prefecture; died 1979.

Sculptor. Religious subjects, mythological figures, local figures, portraits.

Hirakushi studied sculpture under Takamura Koun and was soon selected to take part in the Bunten (ministry of education) exhibition and exhibitions at the art institute. In ...

Article

Patricia Fister

[ Yokoi Myōdō ; Kōmori Dōjin ]

(b Kasanui, Ōmi Prov. [now Kusatsu, Shiga Prefect.], 1761; d Kasanui, 1832).

Japanese priest and painter . The first half of his life is recorded in his autobiography. At the age of nine he became a Buddhist monk at the Jōdo (Pure Land) sect temple Sōkinji in Osaka. He left at the age of seventeen and went to Edo (now Tokyo), where he was admitted into the Jōdo temple Zōjōji in Shiba. Expelled later for frequenting the pleasure districts, he spent some years travelling. He returned to the Kyoto area and resumed his studies, later accepting a position as head priest at Gokurakuji on Mt Kinkoku, in northern Kyoto, from which he took his artist’s name. In 1788 Gokurakuji was destroyed by fire, prompting Kinkoku to become an itinerant preacher and painter. He travelled as far as Nagasaki, staying at Jōdo temples and painting Buddhist deities and scenes from the life of Hōnen (1133–1212), the sect’s founder. These are executed in a rather folksy version of the ...

Article

Japanese, 18th – 19th century, male.

Born 1718, in Yamanashi Prefecture; died 1810.

Sculptor.

Mokujiki, like the sculptor Enku who died in 1695, was an unorthodox monk and sculptor, an artist and man of religion who was close to the people. At the age of 45 he received the ...

Article

Donald F. McCallum

[Mokujiki Gogyō; Mokujiki Gyōdō; Mokujiki Meiman]

(b Marubatake, Kai Province [now Yamashi Prefecture], 1718; d 1810).

Japanese sculptor and Buddhist monk. He was an ascetic priest of the Shingon sect (see Buddhism §III 10.) during the Edo period (1600–1868) and apparently functioned as an itinerant monk (hijiri) in early adulthood. At the age of 45 he took vows as a ‘wood-eater’ (mokujiki), one who abstained not only from meat, fish and fowl but also from grains, eating only nuts, roots and berries. In 1773, after taking an additional vow to travel throughout Japan, he embarked on a programme of missionary activity that took him from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the south. Mokujiki was already in his early 60s when he began sculpting devotional images for the communities he visited, apparently following the example of his predecessor Enkū. Interestingly, he avoided localities where Enkū had made images. Mokujiki enjoyed excellent health and continued to produce sculptures until he was over 90 years old....

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

Japanese, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 19 March 1852, in Edo (Tokyo); died 10 October 1934, in Tokyo.

Sculptor. Buddhist subjects. Wood carving, bronze and metalwork.

Takamura Koun exhibited in Paris including at the 1900 Exposition Universelle, where he received a bronze medal. He sought to preserve the art of traditional Japanese wood carving....