Posts Tagged 'Nagasawa Rosetsu'

Let’s get Zen-ical

The DMA’s Asian Collection features many works of art that express the Japanese Zen Buddhist tradition. Essentially, Zen art seeks to express the True or Formless Self, a form of being that is prior to and free from any physical form. In order to channel one’s True Self, the creative act must be conducted in a state beyond thinking. In other words, the pinnacle of artistic achievement results from an act of creation made with no inhibitions or restraint in a flow of consciousness.

Hakuin Ekaku, Daruma, Edo, n.d., ink on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund 1972.1

Hakuin Ekaku, Daruma, Edo, n.d., ink on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund 1972.1

A few works that demonstrate this most purely include the Daruma Scroll (c. 1603-1868) by the Zen priest Hakuin Ekaku and the Tiger Scroll (c. 1603-1868) by Nagasawa Rosetsu.

Nagasawa Rosetsu, Tiger, Edo, after 1792, ink and color on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund 1972.13

Nagasawa Rosetsu, Tiger, Edo, after 1792, ink and color on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund 1972.13

Daruma is the Buddhist monk that transmitted Chan Buddhism to China from where it was then transferred to Japan and became its own distinct phenomenon known as Zen. The inscription on the Tiger scroll indicates that the artist was able to express the essential nature, the pure essence of “tiger.” Notice that in both works, the outlines of the images are loosely defined, suggesting that the boundaries of the forms are permeable and in a state of flux. Indeed, both works appear as if done in a rush, which reflects the Zen ideal that the creative act must be a reflection of the Formless Self, something only attainable in a state of non-thinking.

Another concern at play in these scrolls is the display of rugged masculinity and strength. For instance, the tiger, an animal not indigenous to Japan, was appropriated from Chinese mythology due to its association with power and military might. Daruma appears ruggedly knowledgeable with his unkempt beard and wrinkled forehead. These characteristics contrast with more traditional forms of Buddhism, in which holy figures were generally depicted with pristine, youthful appearances and perfectly symmetrical faces. The emphasis on masculine characteristics and the association of age with holiness reinforced the patriarchal structures responsible for maintaining the feudal system in Japan.

Meditate on these works and more that capture Zen Buddhism in the DMA’s free collection galleries.

Devon Hersch is the McDermott Intern for Asian Art at the DMA

The Best Way to Spread Artsy Cheer

. . . is singing loud for all to hear!

With the holiday season in full swing, I’ve taken some liberties with a handful of my favorite yuletide melodies. If you know any Claymation experts who’d be willing to work their magic on a DMA-inspired stop-motion musical, please give me a call. Until then, here are a few remixed holiday songs to celebrate some of the works from our collection.

The Minotaur at C3
(to the tune of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”)

You know Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, and Robert Smithson’s
Works in the contemporary collection,
But do you recall
Marcel Dzama’s white minotaur?

The Minotaur at C3
Has a rough and stubby nose.
His face is made of plaster
And it’s covered up with gauze.

Some say he’s funny-looking
‘Cause he only has one arm,
But all the limbs he’s missing
Minotaur makes up with charm.

Half a person and half bull,
Sitting in his chair—
Minotaur, you’re quite a sight!
Drawing you is a delight.

Now you’re our favorite figure
Found in Greek mythology.
How did you leave your labyrinth?
It’ll stay a mystery.

Marcel Dzama, The Minotaur, 2008, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund © Marcel Dzama, 2008.43.2.A-E

Marcel Dzama, The Minotaur, 2008, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2008.43.2.a-e, © Marcel Dzama

DMA Clocks
(to the tune of “Jingle Bell Rock”)

Tiny clocks, modern clocks, freestanding clocks,
19th- and 17th-century clocks,
Up on the 3rd floor at the Reves Salon
Is William Moore’s clock shaped like a sun.

Ball Wall Clock, Tall Case Clock, Gilbert Rohde’s Clock,
Paul Frankl’s stylish “Telechron” clock,
Check out a print with clock faces to spare
By Fernand Legér.

There’s Untitled (Perfect Lovers)
Tick-tocking side by side.
Stephen King and Barbara Kruger
Placed a clock on their book’s front side.

If you ever hope to hear the clocks chime,
You may be out of luck—
So many hands, but so few that tell time
On the DMA’s clocks.

 

I Saw A Tiger Licking Its Paws
(to the tune of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”)

I saw a tiger licking its paws
After the Museum closed last night.
It didn’t see me peek
Down the Japanese gallery.
It jumped off of its scroll
Into the hall in front of me.

Then, I saw the tiger stretch out its paws,
And let out a roar with all its might.
Oh, I’ve warned everyone I see
But no one else will believe
That the tiger comes alive at night.

Nagasawa Rosetsu, Tiger, after 1792, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund, Image courtesy Dallas Museum of Art, 1972.13

Nagasawa Rosetsu, Tiger, after 1792, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund, 1972.13

Happy holidays!

Paulina Lopez is the McDermott Graduate Intern for Visitor Engagement at the DMA.

The Cat’s Meow

There are holidays for just about everything, from celebrating your favorite foods to family birthdays. The month of June is dedicated to one of the furrier members of your household: cats. During National Adopt-A-Cat month, we thought we would honor a few of the felines that call the DMA home.

Edward Hicks, The Peaceable Kingdom, c. 1846-1847, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund 1973.5

Edward Hicks, The Peaceable Kingdom, c. 1846-47, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund, 1973.5

Alfred Stevens, The Visit (La Visite), before 1869, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation 1997.112

Alfred Stevens, The Visit, before 1869, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation, 1997.112

Tiger, Nagasawa Rosetsu, after 1792, ink and color on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund 1972.13

Nagasawa Rosetsu, Tiger, after 1792, ink and color on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund 1972.13

Sword ornament in the form of a lion, Asante peoples, Ghana, Africa, c. mid-20th century, cast gold and felt, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc. 2010.2.McD

Sword ornament in the form of a lion, Ghana, Asante peoples, c. mid-20th century, cast gold and felt, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., 2010.2.McD [Note: currently not on view due to gallery construction]

Grab this Family Gallery Guide, and others, online or on your next visit to the DMA. They are one of the many ways to experience the DMA for free this summer.


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