by Fugai Ekun, 15681654
Japan, Edo period, 17th century
ink on paper
overall: 121.7 x 66.1 cm (with jiku 48 11/16 x 26 cm) Image: 39.9 x 50.9 cm
gift of Peggy and Richard M. Danziger in honor of Dr. Kurt and Alice Gitter
Icons of the founding Indian patriarch of Zen Buddhism, Bodhidharma (sixth century), were large, full-color images or often, like the painting seen here, quickly rendered, monochrome impressions. Almost all were variations of a few formulaic notions based on purported incidents in the master's life, such as this prolonged meditation in the cave at Shaolin, China. Gujai was an itinerant monk who lived in caves. The penetrating gaze of his subject conveys the immediacy of lived experience.