Past Exhibitions

Zen Figure Painting
April 14, 2015 - May 10, 2015

There are a wide variety of figure paintings connected to Zen Buddhism. They include portraits of the first teacher Daruma and other masters, scenes of Zen acts, and portrayals of enlightened travelers (known as wandering saints) from China including Hanshan and Shide, a pair of Zen eccentrics; Tang dynasty priest Fenggan, Hotei (the folkloric "Laughing Buddha"), and the Priest Xian-zi. There are also images of Shakyamuni (Siddhartha Gautama) and deities such as Kannon and Monju, but these differ stylistically from typical Buddhist paintings, with the figures generally appearing more human. Large numbers of these paintings were produced starting in the Kamakura Period (1185-1333), when Zen was introduced to Japan, and many are by famous painters. The paintings shown here are among the masterpieces of the genre.

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