Zen Master Sengai 1750-1837

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Gibon Sengai's ink-wash paintings have kept a modern, humorous character since their creation by the Zen master 200 years ago. His highly reduced, sometimes almost graphic novel-like style still appeals also to a younger audience today. Sengai's paintings often represent Zen-buddhist wisdom, the motifs in many cases completed by calligraphic inscriptions. This new book, published to coincide with an exhibition at Zurich's Museum Rietberg, features 40 of Gibon Sengai's best paintings on full-page plates. As Sengai's aphorisms are key to understanding the motifs and the wisdom they show, the inscriptions on are all translated into English. Eminent scholars look at selected works, tell the story of Sengai's career from Buddhist monk to painter, and also contextualise his work from historical and religious perspectives. Sengai's paintings are extremely sensitive to exposure to light and therefore shown very rarely and for very limited periods only. This book offers a glimpse at these precious masterworks from the important Sengai collection at Tokyo's Idemitsu Museum of Art.