Japan art and Josetsu: Buddhism and the impossible

Japan art and Josetsu: Buddhism and the impossible

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Zen Buddhism impacted Japan greatly. This concerns the realm of faith, guidance, and philosophy. Similarly, the fusions of ideas that emanated from the Middle Kingdom (China) related to Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and other important angles impacted Japan enormously: in Japan, the indigenous Shinto faith also impacted Buddhist ideas within various boundaries related to different sects, regionalism, and at various times in history. 

Josetsu’s fifteenth-century masterpiece “Catching a Catfish with a Gourd” remains extremely potent in modern Japan – and throughout the world, concerning the lovers of Buddhist art. Of course, secular lovers of art – or people from other faiths are equally transfixed by this masterpiece. 

Josetsu is deemed “the father of Japanese ink painting.” This shows how far this Chinese immigrant impacted the art scene of Japan in this period of history. Therefore, the naturalized Buddhist artist handed down his knowledge before parting from this world.

The world of Kyoto – and the importance of the cradle of high culture in Japan, the adorable Nara – equally impacted Josetsu. Thus his firm base in Kyoto enabled his continuing spiritual awakening along with his artistic – and philosophical awakening. 

The Kyoto National Museum says: “Is it really possible to catch a catfish with a gourd? Of course not! There is no way that one could catch a slick and slippery catfish with a smooth gourd!”

The masterly work of Josetsu can have multiple meanings – of utmost Buddhist spirituality. Or, in the other direction, given the legendary relationship between the catfish and earthquakes – it could imply that all human wisdom and power can’t prevent earthquakes and nature.

PLEASE SUPPORT MODERN TOKYO TIMES by DONATING

Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group

DONATIONS to SUPPORT MODERN TOKYO TIMES – please pay PayPal and DONATE to sawakoart@gmail.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com Modern Tokyo Times – International News and Japan News

http://sawakoart.com – Sawako Utsumi personal website and Modern Tokyo Times artist

https://moderntokyonews.com Modern Tokyo News – Tokyo News and International News

PLEASE JOIN ON TWITTER

https://twitter.com/MTT_News Modern Tokyo Times

https://www.facebook.com/moderntokyotimes/ Facebook

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.