November 9. 4:30pm at CWAC 156.
Title: “Mokuan’s Four Sleepers: The Ultimate Zen Painting.”
Abstract: The twelfth through fourteenth centuries witnessed a flourishing Chan/Zen macroculture that spanned the China Sea in all directions and witnessed thousands of Japanese monks travel to monastic centers in the Jiangnan region for study and training. The legacy of the monk-painters that emerged within this interregional sphere are preserved in scores of ink paintings in Japanese collections. This lecture does a deep dive into the artistry of the Zen monk-painter through a reading of Mokuan Reien’s The Four Sleepers (Shisui zu 四睡図), one of the most celebrated works of its kind. Mokuan’s painting showcases several of the unique ways in which Zen painting developed subject matter, appropriated folkloric visual culture, paired words and images in complementary (or more often contradictory) ways, and positioned itself in mutualism to literati painting.
(This program is sponsored by the University of Chicago Center for East Asian Studies)