Awakenings: Zen Figure Painting in Medieval Japan

Awakenings: Zen Figure Painting in Medieval Japan
Japan Society
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Transmitted from China to Japan in the 13th century, Zen Buddhism not only introduced religious practices but also literature, calligraphy, philosophy, and ink painting to Japanese disciples. This elegant book discusses these fields as they combined to encompass the evocative practice of figure painting within Zen Buddhism in medieval Japan. Focusing on forty-seven exceptional Japanese and Chinese paintings from the 12th to the 16th centuries––which together illustrate the story of the “awakening” of Zen art––the book features essays by distinguished scholars that discuss the life and art within Zen monastic and lay communities. The authors explore the ideology underlying the development of Zen’s own pantheon of characters created to imagine the Buddha’s wisdom and offer fresh insights into the role of the visual arts within Zen practice as it developed in Japan in close dialogue with the Asian continent.

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