Past Exhibitions

Zen Figure Painting
December 18, 2018 - January 27, 2019

Who are the figures depicted in Zen Buddhist paintings? One category is the Zen clerical forebears—historical priests beginning with the first Zen patriarch Bodhidharma. Another group includes historical or semi-legendary persons known for their enlightened acts or dialogue. These include eminent Chinese Chan (Zen) priests, the famously carefree Chinese monk-poets Hanshan and Shide, the plump, smiling, semi-legendary deity Budai (J: Hotei), and others.

Such artistic subjects were introduced to Japan from China together with Buddhism during the Kamakura period (1185–1333) and have been painted in this country thereafter. Enjoy these images of figures associated with Zen Buddhism, some of which are in the hand of Japan’s best known artists.

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