Kawaguchi Ekai “Poems”

A diptych, ink on silk,

with a box signed and sealed by the artist

Kawaguchi Ekai was a Buddhist Scholar and Obaku sect Monk of the Meiji period. He entered Tibet, which was then closed to foreigners, in search of Buddhist scriptures. Using broad strokes, his thick brushwork appears to manifest the strength of Ekai himself. Depicting Chinese poetry, the right column depicts the work of the Tang dynasty poet, Xu Hun, while the left is of his own. In Ekai’s “Three Years in Tibet” he discusses the state of being overwhelmed by the natural scenes of the Himalayas and, like Xu Hun’s poem, encounters flying cranes and blowing snowstorms.Using Xu Hun’s poem to signify the beauty of nature, Ekai expresses the intense feeling he experienced alone in the Himalayas, through his own addition.


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