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Title

Calligraphy: "The Shrine of the heaven illuminating great-august-god [centre]; Hachiman, the great Bodhisattva [right]; Kasuga, the great illuminating god [left]"

18th century


Artist

HAKUIN Ekaku

Japan

1685 - 1768


About

The three inscriptions read:

Centre: The Shrine of Heaven illuminating great-august-God

Left: Kasuga, the great illuminating God

Right: Hachiman, the great Bodhisattva.

Hakuin is revered as one of the great teachers of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism and is particularly known for his bold and emphatic large characters which reveal great expressive power, reflecting the spontaneous and subjective aspirations that are at the heart of Zen philosophy. The harmony between the complementary ideologies of Buddhism and the native Shinto is perfectly illustrated in this calligraphy, with its synthesis of Buddhist and Shinto messages, written by a Buddhist monk. The central line refers to Amaterasu, the principal female deity of Shinto mythology, deified as the sun goddess. Kasuga is the patron deity of the most powerful clan in Heian Japan, the Fujiwara. Hachiman is another popular Shinto deity, the god of war, who protects warriors and was adopted as the patron god of the Minamoto clan. In this scroll Hakuin has given Hachiman the Buddhist title of Maha-Bodhisattva, the great being of wisdom.

Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg. 279.


Details


Alternative title

Amaterasu Kôtaijingû [centre]; Hachiman Daibosatsu [right]; Kasuga Daimyôjin [left]


Place where the work was made

Japan


Date

18th century


Media category

Calligraphy


Materials used

hanging scroll; ink on silk


Dimensions

112.3 x 35.0 cm image; 198.0 x 47.0 x 51.4 cm scroll


Signature & date

Signed l.l., in Japanese, inscribed in ink "[artist's seal]". Not dated.


Credit

Yasuko Myer Bequest Fund 1996


Location

Not on display


Accession number

227.1996


Artist information

HAKUIN Ekaku

Works in the collection

1


Place

Where the work was made
Japan

Referenced in 1 publication

Bibliography


Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian Collection: East Asia', pg. 246-287, Sydney, 1999, 279 (colour illus.).