Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1769) Edo period (1615-1868), mid-18th century (3)

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Lot 226*
Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1769)
Edo period (1615-1868), mid-18th century

£ 60,000 - 80,000
US$ 79,000 - 110,000
Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1769)
Edo period (1615-1868), mid-18th century
Kakejiku (vertical hanging scroll), ink on paper in silk mounts, the unusual composition depicting the popular deities Hotei and Otafuku, with several word balloons and inscriptions (see below); sealed Ryutoku senten, Hakuin, and Ekaku no in; with an inscribed wood storage box and cardboard outer storage box. Overall: 126 x 60cm (49 5/8 x 23 5/8in); image: 36 x 57cm (14 1/8 x 22 1/2in). (3).

Footnotes

  • Published
    Yoshizawa Katsuhiro, Hakuin Zenga bokuseki (1050 Paintings and Callligraphies by the Zen Master Hakuin), Zengahen (Painting volume), Tokyo, Nigensha, 2009, no.364.

    As Hakuin scholar Yoshizawa Katsuhiro explains in the catalogue cited above, the goddess Otafuku (also known as Okame and Ofuku) is, along with the jovial pot-bellied priest Hotei, one of the key symbols of Hakuin's path to Zen enlightenment: sometimes beautiful, often ugly, she embodies the Buddhist principle of non-duality. In this rare and striking image, Hotei holds a giant kiseru (tobacco pipe) in his right hand and exhales not only a puff of smoke but also a 16-year-old figure of Otafuku herself, alongside a Chinese inscription (in smaller characters to her left) noting that when the founder of the Pure Land sect chanted the Buddha's name his words turned into an actual Amida Buddha. As Hakuin asks, "If bringing Amida to life was a meritorious act, what merit might there be in bringing Otafuku to life?" Otafuku's kimono is patterned with a version of the umebachi crest, the emblem of Kitano Tenjin, a Shinto deity revered by Hakuin since his youth; Hakuin was himself a heavy smoker, making Hotei's large pipe another of his trade marks.
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Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1769) Edo period (1615-1868), mid-18th century (3)
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