"Inner Landscapes and the Spirit of Zen Calligraphy" Exhibition

Nezu Institute of Fine Arts

poster for "Inner Landscapes and the Spirit of Zen Calligraphy" Exhibition

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The deep recesses of landscape paintings adroitly expressed in light and dark shades of ink can also be considered representations of the inner landscapes of the painter's heart. An overview of ink landscapes, from Chinese Southern Song dynasty masterpieces such as Fishing Village at Sunset by Mu xi (13th century, National Treasure,) formerly in the Ashikaga shogunal family collection, to Japanese ink landscapes from the Muromachi to Edo periods, allows us an understanding of how the painters reconstructed nature within their hearts. Of further note is the connection that can be felt between decorative art works and landscape paintings.

On the other hand, calligraphy by Zen priests is not the result of calligraphic skill or training, rather it is the vital expression of a Zen priest's spirit honed through strict and exactingly harsh religious experiences. Works such as Religious Verse by Longyan Dezhen (dated 1333, Important Cultural Property) from China's Yuan dynasty is particularly poignant as the only extant work by this particular calligrapher, our only chance to see his spirit.

With the new lighting systems in the galleries, the subtleties of ink and its nuances are clearly visible through their display cases. These works provide an inimitable opportunity to experience the painter's heart, entrusted to the whims of ink, and to touch the spirit of a Zen priest through his brush strokes.

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From 2010-03-13 To 2010-04-18

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