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Shōun (Gempō Sōhan)

Shoun-for-web.jpg

Shōun (Gempō Sōhan) | Japan 1848–1922 | Sweets container early 20th century | Stoneware with green glaze and brushed underglaze inscription | 8.7 x 18.1cm (diam.) | Purchased 2009. The Queensland Government’s Gallery of Modern Art Acquisitions Fund

Shoun Sweets container early 20th century
Shōun (Gempō Sōhan)
Japan 1848–1922
Sweets container early 20th century
Stoneware with green glaze and brushed underglaze inscription
8.7 x 18.1cm (diam.)
Purchased 2009. The Queensland Government’s Gallery of Modern Art Acquisitions Fund

Shōun (Gempō Sōhan)

Sweets container early 20th century

Calligraphy is considered the most important and refined aesthetic expression in East Asian arts and the Gallery is currently developing its holdings around the theme of Japanese calligraphy in its historical Asian collection. Zenga are art works created as the visual expression of a Zen master’s thinking. Many Zen masters decorated ceramic objects for use in the tea ceremony or chanoyu. Calligraphy is an important tool in disseminating Zen teachings as it expresses meaning not only in the choice of words, but also in the gesture and form of the brushed line. In many East Asian cultures, the brushwork of a calligrapher is considered an expression of personal character, so painting and calligraphy are an ideal means by which a Master can communicate their own Zen experiences. The inscription on the side of this sweets container, which would have been used in the tea ceremony, reads ‘In the end, the mind is impossible to find’. It references Bodhidharma’s teachings to his disciple Taiso Eka (Ch. Dazu Huike; 487–593), the second patriarch of Zen Buddhism.