Art/ Collection/ Art Object

布袋図 拄杖擊破三千界。彌勒撫掌笑呵呵,明月清風無。」

Kano Takanobu (Japanese, 1571–1618)
Tetsuzan Sōdon (Japanese, 1532–1617)
Edo period (1615–1868)
dated 1616
Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper
Image: 27 1/2 x 15 in. (69.9 x 38.1 cm)
Overall with mounting: 59 1/2 x 18 3/4 in. (151.1 x 47.6 cm)
Overall with rollers: 59 1/2 x 20 1/2 in. (151.1 x 52.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Funds from various donors, 2006
Accession Number:
Not on view
Hotei (Chinese: Budai), a popular figure in the Zen pantheon, is often depicted as a chubby, good-humored monk carrying a large sack. A semihistorical figure, he is believed to have lived in southern China in the late ninth century and was eventually recognized as a manifestation of Miroku (Sanskrit: Maitreya), the Buddha of the Future.

The inscription is excerpted from a eulogy for Budai by the Song-dynasty Daoist master Bai Yuchan (1194–1229), who integrated Chan (Zen) teachings of enlightenment into his philosophy. The inscription was transcribed in bold, cursive, and highly expressive calligraphy by Tetsuzan Sōdon, a leading Zen monk-scholar who served as an abbot of Myōshinji in Kyoto. The inscription reads:

Hotei’s sack encompasses the Great Emptiness.
Holding a staff, he tramps around 3,000 worlds.
Miroku claps his hands, and laughs—ha, ha!
The bright moon shines, the wind disappears . . .

The above poem is by the master
of Sanyian Monastery,
brushed by Tetsuzan Sōdonsai, aged 85,
at Dairyū in Temple in Kyoto.

—Trans. John T. Carpenter
Signature: To the left of the figure of Hotei is the painter's signature reading "Kano Takanobu hitsu" (painted by KanoTakanobu). The two seals that accompany this signature read: "Kano" and "Takanobu."

Inscription: The colophon above the painting in this hanging scroll was inscribed in Chinese style by Tetsuzan Sodon (1532-1617), a leading Zen monk from Myoshinji in Kyoto. It may be translated as follows:

Hotei's sack is truly a large emptiness;
Carrying a staff, he tramps around 3,000 worlds,
Rubbing his hands, Miroku laughs out loud.
The moon is clear and the wind has ceased.
The above is a poem by the master of San'itsu-an,
Inscribed by Tetsuzan Sodonsai, aged 85, wielding the brush at Dairyu shitsu in Kyoto.
seals: "Tetsuzan" "Sodon"
[ London Gallery Ltd. , Tokyo, until 2006; sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sensitivity to the Seasons: Autumn and Winter," June 22, 2006–September 10, 2006.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Japanese Mandalas: Emanations and Avatars," June 18, 2009–November 30, 2009.

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

Detroit Institute of Arts. "Samurai: Beyond the Sword," March 9, 2014–June 1, 2014.

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