Chinese Poem on Fishing and Zen

Osen Keisan 横川景山 Japanese

Not on view

Ōsen Keisan, a monk of the Rinzai sect, was a prominent figure in Zen artistic and literary circles in the final quarter of the 1400s. An aide and close confidant of the eighth Ashikaga shogun, Yoshimasa (1436–1490), Ōsen advised him on both foreign affairs and literature. Using flamboyant, yet fully controlled brushwork on orange- red dyed paper, the monk inscribed a Chinese poetic quatrain:

My hut resembles a shallow-water skiff amid reeds and flowers,
Where I pass my time fishing idly, just enjoying nature.
From the river of Zen to the ocean of Buddhist Law, I try to reel in a whale,
Using a line of fine sprnig rain with the book of the cresent moon.
—Translated by John T. Carpenter

On view for rotations 1 and 2

Chinese Poem on Fishing and Zen, Osen Keisan 横川景山 (Japanese, 1429–1493), Hanging scroll: ink on paper decorated in gold, Japan

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