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“Heads should be bowed to him,” quotation from the Avalokitesvara Sutra

Accession Number
1999/1.105

Title
“Heads should be bowed to him,” quotation from the Avalokitesvara Sutra

Artist(s)
Yueshan Daozong (J. Etsuzan Dôshû; Ôbaku Etsuzan)

Object Creation Date
circa 1660-1709

Medium & Support
ink on paper

Dimensions
74 3/16 in. x 13 5/16 in. ( 188.5 cm x 33.8 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of Marvin Eisenberg in tribute to Richard and Vee Tsung Ling Edwards

Label copy
Gallery Rotation Winter 2014
Yueshan Daozong (Ôbaku Etsuzan)
China, 1629–1709
“Heads should be bowed to him,” from the Avalokitesvara Sutra
Edo period (1615–1868)
circa 1660–1709
Hanging scroll, ink on paper
Gift of Marvin Eisenberg in tribute to Richard and Vee Tsung Ling Edwards,
1999/1.105
Yueshan Daozong was renowned in his day as a calligrapher, regarded in traditional China as the highest of the arts because it was held to be the truest reflection of one’s character. To do calligraphy well required many years of disciplined practice and study of the great works of earlier masters. For Chinese and Japanese Zen monks, who absorbed much of Chinese literati (amateur scholar-artist) culture, calligraphy could thus be a form of self-portraiture. The disciples and lay followers of a prominent Zen teacher would request samples of his writing, and hanging scrolls with edifying phrases, such as this one, were produced by the thousands to satisfy the demand. A native of Fujian province in southeast China, Yueshan took full monastic vows at the age of twenty-two, eventually immigrating to Japan (where he was known as Etsuzan, the Japanese pronunciation of his name) and becoming the abbot of an important monastery. The phrase in this calligraphy is from the last section of the Buddhist scripture known as the Avalokitesvara Sutra:
Equipped with all blessings, Viewing all with compassionate eyes, His ocean of accumulated blessings is immeasurable. Heads should be bowed to him.

Subject matter
Translated as "Equipped with all blessings, Viewing all with compassionate eyes, His ocean of accumulated blessings is immeasurable. Heads should be bowed to him." from the Avalokitesvara Sutra. Avalokitesvara is one of the main bodhisattvas in Mahayana Buddhism.

Physical Description
Long calligraphy hanging scroll with green colored backing. Calligraphy paper is faded. Black ink. Stamps in red in the top right corner and near the bottom on the left. A smaller font of calligraphy is set on the left side while the larger set of calligraphy takes up the center of the scroll.

Primary Object Classification
Painting

Primary Object Type
calligraphy

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
Buddhism
Zen (Japanese Buddhism)
calligraphy (process)

2 Related Resources

Buddhism
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Japan Pax Tokugawa 1600-1868
(Part of: Empires and Colonialism)

& Author Notes

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