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Masatomo Kawai


(d 1492).

Japanese painter and Zen monk. He was a close disciple of Ikkyū Sōjun, the Zen abbot of Daitokuji in Kyoto. After Ikkyū’s death, Bokusai compiled his master’s biography, and he became first-generation head of Shūon’an in Takigi (Tanabe, Kyoto Prefect.), the mortuary temple Ikkyū built for himself. In 1491 Bokusai built ...


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 (...



Ken Brown

[Kor. Mun-ch’ŏng]

(fl c. 1450–60).

Zen monk and ink painter, active in Japan. He may have come to Japan from Korea, where his work is also known: a couple of paintings in the National Museum of Korea in Seoul bear his seal. Moreover, some of his extant landscapes in Japan were done in Korean style. His seal, which appears on only a handful of paintings, is similar to that used by Josetsu, with whom until the mid-20th century he was sometimes confused. Bunsei is thought to have worked at Daitokuji in Kyoto.

Bunsei’s extant works suggest the influence of Tenshō Shūbun. They show a range of subjects, including several landscapes (Osaka, Masaki A. Mus.; Boston, MA, Mus. F.A.), a portrait of Abbot Yosō of Daitokuji (1452) and the popular ecumenical subject Three Laughers of the Tiger Ravine (Powers priv. col.). Bunsei’s masterpiece is a painting of the famous Buddhist Layman Yuima (1457...


[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

[ Wu Daoxuan, Wu Tao-hsüan ; Wu Tao-tzu ]

(b Yangzhe [modern Yu xian, Henan Province]; fl c. ad 710–60).

Chinese painter . Later known as Wu Daoxuan, he is a legendary figure said to have depicted human beings, landscapes, architecture, Buddhist deities, demons, birds and animals. Reportedly, he derived his inspiration from wine and had a mercurial, responsive brushstyle, producing breathtaking vistas of natural scenery and figures across vast areas of temple wall.

Hearing of his extraordinary talents, the Emperor Xuanzong (Minghuang; reg 712–56) summoned Wu to his palace at Chang’an (modern Xi’an). Between 742 and 755 the emperor dispatched Wu to the Jialing River in Sichuan Province to paint the scenery. On his return, Wu stated, ‘I have made no draft, but have committed all to memory.’ He proceeded to paint the walls of the hall known as the Datong dian with 300 or more li (c. 150 km) of Jialing River scenery in a single day. Five dragons in the Inner Hall, painted by Wu on another occasion, supposedly had scales so lifelike that each time it was about to rain, they emitted misty vapours (the dragon symbolized imperial power over rain and irrigation). Contemporary accounts report that Wu covered 300–400 wall surfaces in Buddhist and Daoist temples in the two Tang-dynasty (...


Stephen Addiss


(b Hara, 1685; d Hara, 1769).

Japanese Zen monk, painter and calligrapher. He was one of the most important painters of the Edo period (1600–1868), creating hundreds of paintings and calligraphies that revolutionized Zenga (painting and calligraphy by Zen monks from the 17th century to the 20th; see Japan, §VI, 4, (vii)). In earlier centuries, Zen painting and calligraphy had been generally limited to portrayals of famous masters of the past, landscapes and Zen phrases or poems. Under Hakuin’s influence, however, a new range of styles and of subjects—including Zen-related subjects, those drawn from other Buddhist sects and from native folklore—made Zenga appealing not only to the Zen initiates but also to lay people. In this way Hakuin responded to the Tokugawa government’s lack of support for Zen; he reached out to people of all beliefs and levels of education through art that had both humour and dramatic impact. Indeed, his use of art in the service of religion permanently changed the ...


Stephen Addiss


(b Hijishio, Kanagawa Prefect., 1568; d Lake Hamana, Shizuoka Prefect., 1654).

Japanese Zen monk, painter and calligrapher. He entered the Shingon-sect temple Kansōji at the age of four or five, transferring to the Sōtō-sect Zen temple Chōgenji a few years later. Around the age of 16 he moved to the leading Sōtō temple in eastern Japan, Sōrinji. After completing his Zen training, perhaps in 1596, Fūgai spent two decades on pilgrimage. In 1616 he became abbot of Jōganji in Sagami Province (now part of Kanagawa Prefect.), but after only a few years he gave up his position to live in mountainside caves, which earned him the nickname Ana Fūgai (‘Cave Fūgai’). This practice may have been in emulation of Bodhidharma (Jap. Daruma, the first Zen patriarch), who was reputed to have meditated in front of a wall for nine years; but such rejection of temple life was rare for a 17th-century Japanese monk. While living in the Kamisoga Mountains, Fūgai is said to have made ink paintings of Daruma, which he would hang at the entrance to his cave, so that farmers could leave rice for the monk and take the paintings home. Many such works remain, darkened by incense, in farmhouses of the region. After some years Fūgai moved to a small hut in the village of Manazuru, south of Odawara, where he continued his ink painting and calligraphy. Besides Daruma, he also depicted the wandering monk Hotei (Chin. Budai; one of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune) and occasionally brushed self-portraits and landscapes in ink on paper....


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 ...



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 ...



Vyvyan Brunst and James Cahill

[Hung-jen; Jiang Tao; zi Wuzhi, Jianjiang]

(b ?"She xian, Anhui Province, 1610; d She xian, 1664).

Chinese painter and Chan Buddhist monk. He is best known by his Buddhist name, Hongren; his secular name was Jiang Tao. Considered one of the Four Great Painter-Monks of the late Ming (1368–1644) period, he in fact reached the height of his artistic activity between 1651 and 1663, in the early Qing (1644–1911). Hongren is primarily known as the leading master of the Anhui school, as the creator of the distinctive angular landscapes of his mature period and as a man of great personal integrity and filial piety.

Hongren’s birthplace is variously recorded as Xiuning and She xian; he probably grew up at She xian. The Jiang family was well established in the region, but the early death of Hongren’s father brought hardship. Hongren supported his mother in the following years by drawing water and selling firewood; later, he may have earned an income by transcribing old texts and writing. The death of his mother so distressed him that he went into deep mourning, giving up all thought of marriage; he attempted to pay off the funeral debts as quickly as possible so as not to be ‘obliged to others for one’s own sake’....


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...



Karen L. Brock

(fl c. 1405–23).

Japanese painter and Zen monk. Contemporary biographical information about Josetsu is limited to two references. A brief entry dated 1448 in the diary of the Onryōken, a subtemple of Shōkokuji in Kyoto, mentions that in around 1416 Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimochi consulted with Josetsu about going to the island of Shikoku in search of stone for the carving of a stele in commemoration of Shōkokuji’s founder, Musō Soseki. The entry makes no mention of Josetsu as a painter, but it suggests his acquaintance with Yoshimochi and an association with Shōkokuji, which was an important centre in the development of ink painting in the Muromachi period (1333–1568) (see Japan §VI 4., (iii)). A colophon by the otherwise unknown Kanjōsō on Josetsu’s Sankyōzu (‘The three doctrines’; Kyoto, Ryōsokuin) states that the painting is by ‘[Jo]Setsu’ (clumsy-like), and that the painter was given this name by Zekkai Chūshin (1336–1405...


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 ...



Joseph Tsenti Chang and Chu-Tsing Li

[xing Liu; zi Jieqiu; hao Shixi, Baitu, Can Daoren]

(b Changde, Hunan Province, 1612; d Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, 1673).

Chinese painter and Buddhist monk. He is known as one of the ‘Four Great Monk Painters’ of the early Qing dynasty (1644–1911), along with Shitao or Daoji, Zhu Da and Hongren, and as one of the greatest ‘Individualist’ painters of the 17th century (a group of artists that is always counterposed with the so-called ‘Orthodox’ painters of the 17th century).

As a youth he studied the classics and prepared himself for the civil service examinations, at the same time becoming interested in painting and Buddhism. Inspired by a Confucian scholar in his home town who was also a Chan (Jap. Zen) Buddhist, Kuncan decided to dedicate his life to Chan Buddhism; in 1638, to show his determination, he shaved off his hair. Encouraged by his mentor, he travelled to the Jiangnan region, the area south of the Yangzi River, to seek further instruction in Buddhism. While in Nanjing, Kuncan was introduced to the teachings of the famous patriarch Zhuhong (...


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 (...



Richard Edwards

[Mu-ch’i; Fachang]

(b c. 1210; d after 1269).

Chinese painter and Chan (Jap. Zen) Buddhist monk. Muqi’s family name (xing) is not known; his monastic name was Fachang; the name Muqi was a sobriquet (hao).

Muqi originated from Sichuan Province; it is assumed that he was born there. His most famous surviving painting, White-robed Guanyin, part of a triptych, is signed the ‘monk from Shu [Sichuan]’. The first textual affirmation of Muqi’s connection with Sichuan occurs in Wu Taisu’s Songzhai meipu (Songzhai’s plum manual; 1351), preserved in Japan. The connection is further confirmed by hints in surviving poetry. It is thought that as a young man, possibly in the 1230s, when Mongol invasions threatened Sichuan, Muqi travelled down the Yangzi River to Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province. Poetry commenting on his painting indicates that it evoked feelings both of the Yangzi gorges and the broad reaches of the Xiao and Xiang rivers: Liu Ji (...



Hong Sŏn-p’yo

Korean painter. He is thought to have lived at the time of Paekche (18 bcad 668), one of the Three Kingdoms (see Korea §I 2.), and may have gone to Japan with a group of Buddhist monks and architects from Paekche whose mission was to build temples. Paekka is believed to have completed the wall paintings at Pŏphŭng Temple, Kangwŏn Province. The architectural style of this temple was followed in contemporary Japanese temples that were named after the kingdom of Paekche. Thus, assuming that Paekka was responsible for the wall paintings, he may have had a considerable influence on contemporary painting in Japan....


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 ...


Gennifer Weisenfeld

(b Bitchū [now Okayama Prefect.], 1420; d 1506).

Japanese Zen monk and painter.

Sesshū began his religious training as an acolyte attending to the eminent Zen master Shunrin Shūtō (d 1463); he is known to have been in Kyoto by 1430. Records show him also to have been a disciple of the prominent monk Ryūko Shinkei (fl c. 1433–62) at the Zen temple Shōkokuji in Kyoto. Later in his career, Sesshū held the temple post of shika (official greeter of guests). He is considered one of the two most accomplished ink-painting (suibokuga) students of Tenshō Shūbun, the official painter to the shogunate at Shōkokuji. He later chose the characters of his (art name) Sesshū to refer to Josetsu, Shūbun’s teacher, and to Shūbun himself, in an effort to inscribe himself in this illustrious ink-painting lineage. After Shūbun’s retirement or death in 1463, however, he was replaced by his other main disciple, ...


Cecil H. Uyehara

[Takimotobō Shōjō]

(b 1584; d 1639).

Japanese Shinto–Shingon Buddhist priest, painter and calligrapher. Together with Konoe Nobutada and Hon’ami Kōetsu (see Hon’ami family §(1)), he is known as one of the three Kan’ei no Sanpitsu (‘Three Brushes of the Kan’ei era’ (1624–44)). He began his religious training at the age of 17 at Mt Otoko, near Kyoto, at the Shinto–Shingon Buddhist sanctuary of Iwashimizu Hachimangu, of which he became abbot in 1628. In 1634 he relinquished his position and in 1637 retired to his residence, the Shōkadō (Pine Flower Hall), at one of the sanctuary’s subtemples, the Takimotobō. He was highly respected by the Regent Konoe Nobuhiro, and by the leading intellectuals, priests and Confucianists of the day, such as Kobori Enshū, Takuan Sōhō, Ishikawa Jōzan and Hayashi Razan (1583–1657). Shōjō studied the Shōren’in calligraphy style (see Japan §VII 2., (iii), (a)), as well as the elegant works by Heian-period (...