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Animating the SpiritedJourneys and Transformations$
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Tze-yue G. Hu, Masao Yokota, and Gyongyi Horvath

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781496826268

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496826268.001.0001

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Veiled Zen Journeys through Early Muromachi Flower-and-Bird Paintings

Veiled Zen Journeys through Early Muromachi Flower-and-Bird Paintings

(p.240) Veiled Zen Journeys through Early Muromachi Flower-and-Bird Paintings
Animating the Spirited

Yuk Lan Ng

University Press of Mississippi

This essay largely explores early Muromachi flower-and-bird painting in Zen monastic context and examines how these works convey symbolic connotations related to Zen (Chan) Buddhism. The development of Zen Buddhism in 13th century Japan not only paved the way for the flourishing of Gozan culture, but also contributed to vigorous cultural exchange between Japan and China in the Muromachi period. The author analyzes the spiritual insights of the Zen priest-painters and their productions, which are a combination of art and poetry. The religious meanings of the flower-and-bird motifs are investigated according to the artistic and literary traditions of that time. The influence of Zen on other Japanese art forms are just as salient and the author concludes that the later development of 2-D art and contemporary 3-D installations of Buddhist art shows the continual development of the Zen spiritual journey.

Keywords:   flower-and-bird painting, Zen Buddhism, Japan, China, spiritual insights

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