Hombu Dojo 1968

Hombu Dojo 1968

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Zen Bow

Zen Bow
by Matsuzaka Kian (1892-1959)

Poem by Emperor Meiji:

Employ the bow and arrow

to keep the divine land


but even in halycyon times

remain vigilant!

Respectfully brushed and inscribed by Kyokushin*

*The pen name that Matsuzaka employed before he took the name "Kian."

From: http://zenart.shambhala.com/product-id/198;jsessionid=B62BC54EF3F3CDCEAF09DD0D68242C1F

click on the image to enlarge

The title that Emperor Meiji gave to this poem was "BU" (also pronounced "TAKE"), the character for "martial." Here the bow and arrow stands for all the budo (martial arts). The Shingon monk Kian, famed for his gentle character, painted mostly vegetables and fruit; he is not usually associated with the martial arts. However, Kian may have practiced Japanese archery (kyudo), the most spiritual of the martial arts, when he was young. Kian likely brushed this for a kyudo teacher. The painting is beautifully composed and has a powerful and calming presence. There are two arrows, suggesting that there should always be something held in reserve,

About the Artist

Kian was a Shingon monk, born in Okayama Prefecture. Kian spent his entire life there, serving as longtime abbot of Hokai-in. He was famed for his gentle and kind nature, and was called, "The 20th century Ryokan." Kian was a talented and prolific artist; his brushwork was based on the style of Jiun.

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