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Masatomo Kawai


(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 (...


[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 (...



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 ...


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 ...


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....


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 ...


Elizabeth Horton Sharf

[Muan Xingtao; Wu]

(b Quanzhou Prefecture, Fujian Province, 1611; d Nagasaki, 1684).

Chinese monk, calligrapher, painter and poet. He was the second abbot of Manpukuji and a prominent early patriarch of Ōbaku Zen Buddhism in Japan. Together with Ingen Ryūki (Yinyuan Longqi) and Sokuhi Nyoitsu (Jifei Ruyi), he became known as one of the Three Brushes of Ōbaku (Ōbaku no Sanpitsu), noted master Zen calligraphers (see also Japan, §VII, 2, (iv), (c)). Mokuan was ordained at the age of 18 (19 by Chinese reckoning) and studied under the eminent Chinese monks Miyun Yuanwu (1566–1642) and Feiyin Tongrong (1593–1661) before training at Wanfu si on Mt Huangbo (Fujian Province) under Ingen. Mokuan received dharma transmission from Ingen in 1650 and went on to serve as abbot of the monasteries Taiping si on Mt Lianshi and Huiming si on Mt Xiang in south-eastern China. In 1655, at Ingen’s behest, Mokuan emigrated to Nagasaki, where he took over as abbot of the monastery Fukusaiji and served as Ingen’s senior disciple in Japan. Sokuhi Nyoitsu and Mokuan gained renown as the ‘Two Gates to the Nectar [of liberation]’ (Jap. ...


Helmut Brinker


(b Kyoto, 1394; d Kyoto, 1481).

Japanese Zen Buddhist priest, poet, calligrapher and painter. He was one of the most unconventional figures in 15th-century Japan, an uncompromising critic of the Zen establishment, both in his poems, religious statements, paintings and calligraphic works and in his eccentric conduct that sometimes verged on the manic. Kyōun (‘Crazy Cloud’), his self-mocking sobriquet, is rich in literary connotations and emphasizes his non-attachment to the world, the essential requirement of a committed Zen monk. His famous manuscript of the Chinese verses named Kyōunshū (‘Crazy Cloud anthology’) reveals Ikkyū’s unique literary genius and also his mercurial temperament. According to the Ikkyū Oshō nenpu (‘Chronicle of Reverend Ikkyū’), which is thought to have been compiled shortly after the master’s death by his disciple Shōtō Bokusai, he was the illegitimate son of Emperor GoKomatsu (reg 1382–1412) and a woman of a branch of the Fujiwara clan, connected with the rival southern court, who was dismissed from the imperial household before her child was born. Although Ikkyū was never recognized as the offspring of an emperor, GoKomatsu received him twice in audience. At the age of five Ikkyū was sent to Ankokuji, a temple in the province of Yamashiro (now part of Kyoto), where he began his training as a Zen monk. In ...


Masatomo Kawai

(fl 1342–66).

Japanese painter, poet, calligrapher and Zen monk. He was a disciple of Musō Sōseki, the founder of Tenryūji in Kyoto. He went to China during the Yuan period (1279–1368) to study devotional poetry with the Chan (Zen) monk Gulin Qingmou. In addition to his Zen training, Tesshū also studied suibokuga (ink painting) (see Japan §VI 4., (iii)), and his style shows the influence of the Yuan-period painter Xuechuang Puming, who specialized in ink paintings of orchids (see China, People’s Republic of §V 3., (vi)). Tesshū’s representative work is Ranchikuzu (‘Orchids and bamboo’; Princeton U., NJ, A. Mus.), which bears an inscription by Gidō Shūshin. Other extant works include the Ransekizu (‘Orchids and rocks’; Tokyo, Gotoh Mus.) and the Roganzu (‘Reeds and wild geese’; New York, Met.). After his return to Japan in 1347 he became head of Hodaji in Awa (now Tokushima Prefect.), and in ...