Hōtei Pointing to the Moon
Attributed to Shinno Noami
Not on view
"Big Belly" or "Cloth Bag" Budai, known as Hōtei in Japan, was a tenth-century monk who wandered around Siming (modern Ningbo) in China with his walking staff, begging for alms to place in his sack. Eccentric and given to puzzling pronouncements, he was thought to be an earthly incarnation of Maitreya, the Buddha of the Future. Hōtei was a favorite subject in Zen ink painting. Easily recognizable, he personified the pure nature and intuitive experience necessary for enlightenment. Hōtei points at the cloud to teach us that truth cannot be rationally taught. A mere handful of dynamic ink lines describes Hōtei's robed body. The finer gray lines and wash are used for his face, hands, and foot, in accordance with tradition of Zen figure painting.
This artwork is meant to be viewed from right to left. Scroll left to view more.