Hanging scroll; ink on paper
Painting: 116.5 x 39 cm (45 7/8 x 15 3/8 in.); Mounted: 201.3 x 55.9 cm (79 1/4 x 22 in.)
Gift of Nisaburo Mizutani 1973.86
The Ōbaku lineage of the Zen school of Buddhism in Japan is named for Mount Huangbo (Japanese: Ōbaku) in China.
The inscription at the top of this painting was brushed by Ōbaku school monk Nanyuan Xingpai (Japanese: Nangen Shōha), a Chinese Buddhist monk who emigrated to Japan in 1654, while the painting was done in ink by Yamaguchi Sekkei, a Japanese painter active in Kyoto who was known for his Buddhist subjects, many of which remain in temples today. The figure here reads a text while riding backward upon a water buffalo. Sekkei's painting may be meant to depict the Chinese monk Weizheng (986–1049), also known as "Zheng of the Yellow Ox" after his favored mount. Nanyuan's inscription makes reference to another classical story in which a man by the name of Li Yuan comes across the reincarnation of his friend Yuanze as a young herder riding upon a water buffalo. Both stories feature the themes of friendship and spiritual insight.
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