Zen Masters of Meditation in Images and Writings

Hardback: $79.00
ISBN-13: 9783907070628
Published: March 1997
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Additional Information

384 pages | color illus.
  • About the Book
  • The old “Masters of Meditation,” Zenji, liked to talk to their followers and disciples in similes and metaphors. They confronted and provoked them with seemingly obvious images drawn from daily life and with enigmatic teachings. In the “ink traces,” bokuseki, of their brush and in the portraits, chinzo, the characters and substance of the masters are revealed most poignantly, and both served the Zen adherents to absorb word and spirit of their religious paragons, enabling them to transmit their teachings faithfully.

    The immediate contact between master and disciple, as well as the relationship among leading monks, especially in Kyoto, their literary and artistic interests, their tangible surroundings in the monasteries, and their immersion in the traditional current of their school are to be intimated just as well as the historical circumstances and the exchange between Chinese and Japanese Zen.

    This book places Zen art in a new and proper perspective and notes its seminal influences. By concentrating on major figures from Zen history and legend and on some outstanding prelates of the medieval Zen clergy, it is intended to bring these masters into the clearest possible focus, to “re-animate” them by means of their extant works and the interpretative representation of their physical appearances. This new study reveals the intrinsic worth of Zen architecture, sculptures, writings, and paintings themselves, as well as their cultural and historic setting. The book has the character of a richly illustrated compendium of Zen art.

  • About the Author(s)
    • Helmut Brinker, Author

      Helmut Brinker is professor of East Asian art history at Zurich University and consultant of the Museum Rietberg Zurich.
    • Hiroshi Kanazawa, Author

      Hiroshi Kanazawa is professor in the Department of Science of Art at Kyoto University of Art and Design.
    • Andreas Leisinger, Translator

  • Supporting Resources