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On-Tsun Fung. To the Roots of Kakutei Jōkō's Flowers and Plants of the Four Seasons

In 1774, the Nagasaki-born Zen monk-painter Kakutei Jōkō (1722–86) completed an impressive pair of six-panel folding screens (Figs 1a and 1b). Each measuring over 170 centimetres in height and over 370 centimetres in width, the screens depict an array of monumental plants in ink; they are among the most ambitious in execution and scale within his oeuvre. But more than a display of artistic bravura, the screens also coincided with the peak of the monk’s career in Obaku, one of the three largest Zen schools at the time (and still today). As will be demonstrated, this large visual statement throws into relief this chapter of Kakutei’s life as he held increasingly significant positions at the head temple of Manpuku-ji.

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January/February 2021
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