National TreasureTeaching on Enlightenment

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  • 了庵清欲墨蹟
  • By Liaoan Qingyu
  • 1 hanging scroll
  • Ink on paper
  • 27.9x73.9
  • Yuan dynasty/Shisei(Chih-cheng) 7(1341)
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • TB-1175

Liaoan Qingyu (J. Ryôan Seiyoku, 127-1363) was a Chan (J. Zen) monk who lived during the Yuan dynasty (1279-1367). He was the disciple of the eminent monk Gulin Qingmou (J. Kurin Seimo, 1262-1329), and served as the head monk at Baoning, Kaiyuan, Benjue, and Lingyan Temples in China. Emperor Shun (r. 1333-1368) gave Liaoan a gold brocade surplice and granted him the name Chan Master Ciyun Puji. During the late Kamakura period (1185-1333) and the Nanbokuchô period (1333-1392), many monks from Japan traveled to China to see him.

Liaoan Qingyu wrote this note about the attainment of enlightenment at Benjue Temple on the seventeenth day of the first month of Zhiyuan 7 (1341) for a Japanese monk, Teki Zôsu, who had finished his training at the temple and was ready to return to Japan. Little is known about Teki Zôsu. The tranquil calligraphy displays the influence of Zhao Mengfu (J. Chô Môfu), a statesman, calligrapher, artist, and poet of the Yuan dynasty.

Matsudaira Fumai (1751-1818), the lord of Matsue and a famous tea master, owned this piece, and it was passed down for many years within the Matsudaira family of Izumo Province (present-day Shimane Prefecture).