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Calligraphy: "The Ocean of Good Fortune"

Accession Number
2003/1.392

Title
Calligraphy: "The Ocean of Good Fortune"

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

Object Creation Date
circa 1660-1709

Medium & Support
ink on paper

Dimensions
51 11/16 in. x 11 3/16 in. ( 131.3 cm x 28.4 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of Helmut Stern

Label copy
In traditional China, calligraphy was regarded as the highest of the arts, for 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 culture, calligraphy could thus be a form of self-portraiture. Just as the disciples and lay followers of a prominent Zen teacher would request copies of his painted likeness, so also did they seek to obtain authentic samples of his writing. Hanging scrolls such as this one, with edifying phrases, were produced by the thousands to satisfy this market.
Yueshan Daozong was a native of Fujian province in southeast China. He took full monastic vows at age twenty-two. Only after emigrating to Japan did he meet his fellow countryman Muan Xingtao (1611–1684), who was by then the second-highest ranking prelate in the new Ôbaku Zen temple of Manpukuji. Yueshan quickly assumed an important role as the chief administrator of business affairs at Manpukuji. Considered Muan’s foremost disciple, he eventually rose to become the seventh abbot of the monastery. Known in Japan as Etsuzan (the Japanese pronunciation of his name), Yueshan was renowned in his day as a fine calligrapher in both running and block script.
Arts of Zen, Spring 2003
M. Graybill, Senior Curator of Asian Art
Yueshan Daozong, a native of Fujian province in southeast China, took full monastic vows at the age of twenty-two. Only after immigrating to Japan did he meet his fellow countryman Muan Xingtao (1611–1684, known in Japan as Mokuan), who was by then the second-highest ranking prelate in the new Ôbaku Zen temple of Manpukuji. Yueshan quickly assumed an important role as the chief administrator of business affairs at Manpukuji. Considered Muan’s foremost disciple, he eventually rose to become the seventh abbot of the monastery. Known in Japan as Etsuzan (the Japanese pronunciation of his name), Yueshan was renowned in his day as a fine calligrapher in both running (seen here) and block script.
Winter 2011 Gallery Rotation
Yueshan Daozong
(Etsuzan Dôshû or Ôbaku Etsuzan)
China, 1629–1709
The Ocean of Good Fortune
circa 1660–1709
Edo Period (1615–1868)
Hanging scroll, ink on paper
Gift of Helmut Stern, 2003/1.392
Yueshan Daozong, a native of Fujian province in southeast China, took full monastic vows at the age of twenty-two. Only after immigrating to Japan did he meet his fellow countryman Muan Xingtao (1611–1684, known in Japan as Mokuan), who was by then the second-highest ranking prelate in the new Ôbaku Zen temple of Manpukuji. Yueshan quickly assumed an important role as the chief administrator of business affairs at Manpukuji. Considered Muan’s foremost disciple, he eventually rose to become the seventh abbot of the monastery. Known in Japan as Etsuzan (the Japanese pronunciation of his name), Yueshan was renowned in his day as a fine calligrapher in both running (seen here) and block script.

Subject matter
Yueshan Daozong, a native of Fujian province in southeast China, immigrated to Japan and Muan Xingtao, who was by then the second-highest ranking prelate in the new Ôbaku Zen temple of Manpukuji. Considered Muan’s foremost disciple, he eventually rose to become the seventh abbot of the monastery. Known in Japan as Etsuzan (the Japanese pronunciation of his name), Yueshan was renowned in his day as a fine calligrapher in both running (seen here) and block script.

Physical Description
Running script calligraphy

Primary Object Classification
Calligraphy

Primary Object Type
hanging scroll

Rights
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Keywords
calligraphy (process)
hanging scrolls
ink

1 Related Resource

Japan Pax Tokugawa 1600-1868
(Part of: Empires and Colonialism)

& Author Notes

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