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Daruma

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Published on Aug 7, 2012

Daruma, Kawanabe Kyōsai
http://www.imamuseum.org/art/collecti...

Bodhidharma, the first Chinese Chan (Zen) patriarch, is said to have meditated facing a wall for nine years at the Shaolin monastery. He is the embodiment of fierce and unflagging determination. Yet it is difficult to decide whether the furrowed brows and grimacing mouth of Kyosai's figure signal firmness of will or befuddlement. The image fits into a long tradition of humorous caricature of Zen patriarchs. Determinedly rejecting superficial attractiveness or saccharine religious emotion, Zen art frequently seems iconoclastic and irreverent. Reflecting the spirit of its practitioners, Zen art emphasized getting to the heart of the matter rather than getting hung up on appearances. Kyōsai was a devout Buddhist.

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