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Sengai Gibon (1750 - 1837)

Lot 8448: Property from Various Owners

Bonhams 2

June 21, 2011
San Francisco, CA, US

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Hanging scroll, ink on paper; depicting the bearded patriarch in a voluminous robe and holding a shoe in one hand as he lifts his bare foot to tread an ascending pathway; inscribed, sealed Sengai.
37 3/4 x 10 1/4in (95.9 x 26cm)


According to legend, after Bodhidharma's death a strange monk was spotted traveling the road from China to India with only one shoe. Hearing this report, the emperor ordered Bodhidharma's grave opened; confirming the emperor's suspicions, a single shoe was found inside in place of the patriarch's body.

Depictions of the One-shoe, or Sekiri Daruma are also found among the work of monk-painter Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1768), who like Sengai belonged to the Rinzai sect of Zen. For more on Hakuin's interpretation of the theme, see Adudrey Yoshiko Seo and Stephen Addiss, The Sound of One Hand: Paintings and Calligraphy by Zen Master Hakuin, (Boston: 2010), p. 103.

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Fine Asian Art

Bonhams 2
June 21, 2011, 12:00 PM PST

San Francisco, CA, US