Sojun Ikkyu / Monk in a Landscape / 1400sSojun Ikkyu
Monk in a Landscape

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Creator Name: Ikkyu, Sojun
Creator Nationality: Japanese
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1394 - 1481
Biography: Ikkyu was a Zen monk whose unconventional behavior and eloquent literary talent secured him a place of honor among Japanese Zen masters. His paintings and especially his calligraphy have always been highly coveted in Japan. Born as an unacknowledged son of an emperor, he was sent at age five to a monastery to be educated. Ikky?'s religious fervor and intellectual curiosity then took him at age sixteen to two successive Zen masters whose severity enabled him to pursue his own path following his enlightenment in 1417, while meditating in a boat on a rainy night in the middle of Lake Biwa.Ikkyu vigorously (and openly) criticized the Zen monastic institutions of his day, calling them hypocritical and corrupt. He chose to move from one country temple or hut to another where he studied, wrote poetry, and occasionally accepted a student-monk for instruction. He also frequented brothels and inns in large cities in open defiance of Zen authorities and the accepted rules of Zen behavior. His lover later in life, a blind musician name Mori, appears in his poetry and in an unusual double portrait painting with Ikkyu.In 1474 Ikkyu was summoned to Kyoto by the emperor to supervise the reconstruction of Daitoku-ji temple as its abbot. Many of its buildings had been destroyed during the Onin civil war. The task underway, Ikky? died while meditating at a rural hermitage he had built decades earlier near the ancient capital of Nara.
Gender: M
Creator Name-CRT: Sojun Ikkyu
Title: Monk in a Landscape
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1420
Creation End Date: 1481
Creation Date: 1400s
Object Type: Paintings
Classification Term: Painting
Materials and Techniques: Hanging scroll; ink on paper
Dimensions: Painting only: 76.8cm x 32cm, Including mounting: 153.7cm x 38.1cm
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1985.89
Credit Line: Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund
Style or Period: Japan, Muromachi period (1392-1573)
Context: The Zen monk Ikky? seldom painted landscapes, preferring instead such subjects as birds, orchids, prunus, and especially poems and Zen parables written in his powerful calligraphic brush manner. These bokuseki (ink traces) are revered in Japan because they reveal the spiritual character of this eccentric cleric?s life and thought.Ikky? led a solitary existence, avoiding sustained contact with Kyoto?s large monasteries. He despised the values espoused at such institutions, and openly condemned their distortion of fundamental religious principles. He particularly criticized the close relationships between some monks and the military and government officials of the time.This modest-sized painting is typical of Ikky??s work. Noteworthy is Ikky??s dark sinewy writing style, which balances the more familiar landscape elements. Easily overlooked at first is the simply rendered figure of a seated monk, lost in meditation among some grasses at the base of a mountain ledge.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1985.89
AMICA Library Year: 2003
Media Metadata Rights:

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