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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 (...


Yan Hui  

Chu-Tsing Li

[ Yen Hui ; zi Qiuyue ]

(b Jiangshan, Zhejiang Province; fl late 13th century–early 14th).

Chinese painter . He was a painter of Buddhist and Daoist figures, ghosts and landscapes, who was well respected as a painter by the literati by the end of the Song period (960–1279). Of some 35 paintings attributed to him, only a few can be considered to be genuine; among these, the best known are those mounted as a pair of hanging scrolls (ink and colour on silk; Kyoto, Chion’in) depicting two Daoist immortals, Li Tieguai and Liu Haichan, both of which are executed in the extremely realistic style for which Yan is known. There is special attention to physiognomy—to the point of grotesqueness—to volume and to modelling of the body, and to the strong contrast between light and dark areas. Both works also include a misty landscape that serves as a background to the figures, a feature derived from landscape painting of the Southern Song period (1127–1279...


Joseph D. Parker

[Shūhō Myōchō]

(b Harima [now in Hyōgo Prefect.], 1282; d Kyoto, 1337).

Japanese Zen abbot and calligrapher. It is to Daitō Kokushi (‘national teacher Daitō’) that the abbots of virtually all modern Japanese Rinzai Zen temples trace their religious heritage, and he was one of Japan’s foremost monk–calligraphers. Daitō took monastic orders as a youth and at the age of about 21 became a disciple of Kōhō Kennichi (1241–1316), who had studied in Japan under the Chinese master Wuxue Zuyuan (1226–86), and who was a son of Emperor GoSaga (reg 1242–6). By 1305 Daitō was studying Zen under Daio Kokushi [Nanpo Jōmyō] (1235–1308), a monk who had studied for eight years in China and under whom Daitō achieved enlightenment. Daitō’s early, graceful, Japanese-style calligraphy may have been the result of his training under Kōhō Kennichi. The early style is fluid, yet betrays a penetrating strength in the use of the brush tip. A fine example is his two ...


Junghee Lee

Korean dynasty that ruled from ad 918 to 1392. The Koryŏ kings were lavish in their patronage of Buddhist art of the major groups such as Sŏn and Kyo (see Buddhism §III 9.). Wang kŏn, posthumously known as King T’aejo (reg ad 918–43), founder of the dynasty, made Buddhism central to his rule and commissioned the building of the royal palace (see Korea, §II, 3, (iii), (a)) at Songak (now Kaesŏng), Kyŏnggi Province; which he had made the capital in 919. King T’aejo also established Buddhist temples in and around the capital and built a number of temples in the provinces as did the kings who succeeded him. Under his rule numerous annual Buddhist ceremonies were established to honour the Buddha and thus protect the country from foreign invasions; these ceremonies were performed until the end of the Koryŏ period.

The Koryŏ kings commissioned professional painters of the Tohwawŏn (Academy of Painting) (...


Nicole Fabricand-Person

[Kichizan, Kitsuzan; Hasōhai]

(b Awajishima [now in Hyōgo Prefect.], 1351; d Kyoto, 1431).

Japanese Zen monk and painter. Active during the Muromachi period (1333–1568), he became superintendent in charge of the monastic buildings and the head of a leading painting workshop at the temple Tōfukuji in Kyoto at a time when Chinese ink-painting techniques, brought to Japan by Buddhist monks from the 13th century onwards, were being adapted by Japanese artists (see Japan, §VI, 4, (iii)). Minchō’s painting epitomizes the early stages of this turning-point. Works attributed to Minchō range from conservative Buddhist paintings in colour to secular landscape compositions executed in the new ink-painting technique (suibokuga). He is especially known, however, for those of his paintings that bridge these two styles.

A conservative Buddhist painting style characterized Minchō’s early works. The Gohyaku rakan (‘Five hundred arhats’; 50 hanging scrolls; c. 1386; Tokyo, Nezu A. Mus. and Kyoto, Tōfukuji), for example, are typical of the carefully coloured paintings on silk associated with professional Buddhist painters (...



Mimi Hall Yiengpruksawan

[Nagarasan Onjōji; Miidera; Jimon]

Buddhist temple in the city of Ōtsu, Shiga Prefecture, Japan. Onjōji occupies c. 79 ha at the southern foot of Mt Hiei, near the south-western shore of Lake Biwa. It is the head temple of the Jimon branch, one of the two major branches of the Tendai sect of Esoteric Buddhism (mikkyō). The Shinra Jinja (Shinra Shrine) is its principal tutelary Shinto shrine.

Temple tradition holds that Onjōji owes its foundation to Prince Ōtomo no Yataō (fl late 7th century ad), who commissioned the temple in 686 (as recorded in the mid-12th century Fusō ryakki) to fulfil a deathbed wish expressed by his father, Emperor Kōbun (reg 671–2). The age of roof tiles excavated at Onjōji is consistent with a late 7th-century date for at least part of the complex, but most scholars attribute the 686 foundation date to later Onjōji archivists determined to undermine the legitimacy of the rival monastic hierarchy at ...


Cecil H. Uyehara

[Son’en Shinnō]

(b Japan, 1298; d 1356).

Japanese prince, Buddhist monk, poet and calligrapher. He was the sixth son of Emperor Fushimi and the half-brother of the emperors GoFushimi (reg 1289–1301) and Hanazono (reg 1308–18), all of whom were excellent calligraphers. He began his Buddhist training at the age of 11 at the temple of Shōren’in in Kyoto, took his vows at 13 and later served three times as abbot there. He studied the calligraphy of Fujiwara no Kōzei (see Fujiwara family §(2)) and Ono no Michikaze, two of the Sanseki (‘three brush traces’; three masters of calligraphy) and leaders in the later part of the Heian period (ad 794–1185) in creating a Japanese-style (Wayō) calligraphy. Building on this foundation he developed a style that became known as the Shōren’in (less popularly, the Son’en or Awata) school of calligraphy (see Japan §VII 2., (iii)). This style was perpetuated by successive abbots of the Shōren’in. During the Edo period (...


Masatomo Kawai

[Kaō Ryōzen]

(b Chikugo Prov. [now Fukuoka Prefect.]; d Kyoto, 1345).

Japanese painter and Zen monk. Although he was not a professional artist and painted as part of his religious austerities, Kaō is one of the most important suibokuga (‘ink painting’) painters of his age (see Japan §VI 4., (iii)). He began his religious training at Kenchōji in Kamakura. In 1319 he travelled to China to study Zen (Chin. Chan) Buddhism. During his stay in China, Kaō received instruction from the Zen recluses Zhongfeng, Hingbon, Shicheng (1270–1342) and Gulin Quingmou, with whom he studied poetry composition and devotional ink painting. In 1326 Kaō returned to Japan with Qingzhao Zencheng. He then served as abbot both of several Gozan (‘five mountains’; hierarchy of Zen temples) temples, including Manjūji, Kenninji and Nanzenji in Kyoto, and of Sūfukuji Temple in Hakata (now Fukuoka Prefect.). Kaō’s representative works include Kanzan (Hattori priv. col.), Portrait of Kensu Ōsho (Tokyo, N. Mus.) and ...


Bruce A. Coats

(b Ise Prov. [now in Mie Prefect.], 1275; d Kyoto, 1351).

Japanese Zen master, poet, scholar and garden designer. As spiritual adviser to both Emperor GoDaigo (reg 1318–39) and the military leaders who overthrew him, Musō was politically influential and acted as mediator during the civil wars of the 1330s. At various times in his life Musō served as abbot of Nanzenji, one of the various Gozan (Five Mountains) Zen monasteries including Nanzenji in Kyoto (see Kyoto §IV 4.). The support of both imperial and shogunal courts enabled him to found many new Rinzai Zen temples. He was instrumental in popularizing Zen teachings, though also criticized for the secularization of some Zen institutions. Three times during his life and four times posthumously he was given the honorific title kokushi (National Master).

Musō began Buddhist studies at the age of three. Although his early training was in the Esoteric Tendai and Shingon doctrines, attraction to Zen brought him to Kamakura, where he received instruction from the Japanese disciples of distinguished Chinese Chan (Jap. Zen) monks, including Kōhō Kennichi (...



Ken Brown

School of Japanese specialists in Buddhist painting (ebusshi), which flourished from the late Heian (ad 794–1185) to early Muromachi (1333–1568) periods. It rivalled the Kose school of ebusshi in Nara, specialists in refined, decorative Buddhist painting. The school was supposedly founded in the 11th century by Takuma Tamenari (fl c. 1053), the artist to whom wall paintings at the Byōdōin are attributed by legend. Takuma Tametō (fl c. 1132–74), a priest with connections to the aristocracy and to the monastic community on Mt Koya, is also associated with the genesis of the school. His Kontai Butsuga chō (‘Album of Buddhist paintings in dark and light colours’), an album of Buddhist iconographic drawings (Nara, Yamato Bunkakan, and other collections), offers an important early example of the ebusshi’s method. Tametō’s sons, Takuma Tametoki (fl mid-12th century), (1) Takuma Shōga and ...



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 ...


Henrik H. Sørensen

(fl late 13th century to early 14th).

Korean painter of Buddhist subjects of the Koryŏ period (918–1392). He is said to have painted in the style of the Li–Guo school, an approach to landscape painting developed by the Chinese painters Li Cheng and Guo Xi. Two of No Yŏng’s paintings survive, one, dating to 1307, of the bodhisattva Kshitigarbha, the other of Amitabha Buddha (both gold outline on black lacquered wood, 224×130 mm; Seoul, N. Mus.). The former has Kshitigarbha, who guides the souls of the suffering to the underworld, as the main image, together with a smaller depiction of the bodhisattva Manjushri, shown standing in the upper right-hand corner, and a host of devas descending on Mt Kŭmgang (Diamond), one of the holy mountains of Korea. Kshitigarbha, who is clad in a billowing monk’s robe, is shown seated on a flat, stylized rock among a swirl of clouds. In his right hand he holds a crystal ball, his characteristic attribute, while his left hand rests on his left knee. One foot is touching a lotus positioned on the ground, the other is resting on the seat. On both sides of the ...