Important Cultural PropertyThe priest Dong shān wading the stream

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  • By Ma Yuan
  • 1 hanging scroll
  • Ink and light color on paper
  • 77.6x33.0
  • Southern Song period/13th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • TA-138

Ma Yuan was a painter at the Imperial Painting Academy in the middle of the Southern Song dynasty, and was good at landscape and figure painting. This picture depicts the moment Dongshan Liangchieh, the founder of the Sôtô sect, attained great wisdom in a flash when he saw his own shadow while wading across a stream in the middle of his pilgrimage, and is said to be one of few works painted by Ma Yuan himself. A praise by Yô Maishi, who is said to be the empress of emperor Risô in the Southern Song Dynasty, is found on the picture. This work is said to be one of the collection of paintings that originally depicted the five patriarchs of Zen Buddhism, together with Unmon taishi zu (great teacher of Buddhism, Unmon) and Seiryô hôgan zenshi zu (Zen-Buddhist priest, Seiryô Hôgan) owned by the Tenryû temple. Previously owned by Tanaka Toyozô.

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