Art/ Collection/ Art Object

芦葉達磨図
Bodhidharma Crossing the Yangzi River on a Reed

Artist:
Kano Sōshū (Japanese, 1551–1601)
Period:
Momoyama period (1573–1615)
Date:
late 16th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink on paper
Dimensions:
Image: 31 3/4 x 12 3/4 in. (80.6 x 32.4 cm) Overall with mounting: 64 x 17 1/2 in. (162.6 x 44.5 cm) Overall with knobs: 64 x 19 1/4 in. (162.6 x 48.9 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 2007
Accession Number:
2007.29
Not on view
The heavily bearded man with large eyes is Bodhidharma (Japanese: Daruma), an Indian sage, who, according to a legend of long standing, sailed up the Yangzi River on a reed to found Chan (Japanese: Zen) Buddhism in China.

Executed in an abbreviated style with only a few long, flowing calligraphic strokes, this ink monochrome painting echoes the style that was extremely popular during the Muromachi period (1392–1573). This style also succinctly expresses the essence of the Zen spirit that contends, “less is more.” The colophon above the painting, composed and inscribed by the noted Zen monk Gyokushitsu Sōhaku (1572–1641), reads:

Lightly sailing on a single reed,
He is majestic and commanding.
Far away from the land in the south,
Ah, what does he recall?
Signature: 玉室
宗珀
秀信 (季信 ?)

Inscription: Lightly sailing on a single reed,
He is majestic and commanding.
Far away from the land in the south,
Ah, what does he recall?

軽乗一葦
威風凛然
遠離梁土
回顧那辺

遠孫比丘睡眠子拝賛
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Flowing Streams: Scenes from Japanese Arts and Life," December 21, 2006–June 3, 2007.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Landscapes in Japanese Art," June 24, 2010–November 7, 2010.

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