DARUMA BY KOGAN GENGEI
Zen Buddhism stressed that enlightenment came as a sudden, immediate flash of intuition
reached by breaking the restrictions of normal behaviour and thinking.
Zen masters guided their students to enlightenment by posing seemingly nonsensical questions(koan), of which the most famous is probably ‘what is the sound of one hand clapping?’
The Zen style of painting, known as Zenga, typically uses quick, expressive brushstrokes in black ink
in accordance with the Zen emphasis on the immediate and intuitive. The paintings are
displayed in the format of a hanging scroll and used to remind followers of Zen masters of the
insights available through Buddhist practice.
This selection of work is representative of key themes in Zen art which are:
1 Daruma, the bearded and fierce-looking founder of Zen Buddhism
2 Kanzan and Jittoku, the mountain dwelling eccentric pair
3 Calligraphy, pictograms expressing the spirit of the artist
4 Procession of monks, whimsical line of monks on their alms round
5 Dragon and tiger, powerful symbols of heaven and earth
6 Enso, the ink circle completed in one brushstroke