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)
Funds from various donors, 2006
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"
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.