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Moon amid Clouds early 19th century Inscription by Seisetsu Sh?cho ???? A gibbous moon, rendered in reserve

Moon amid Clouds early 19th century Inscription by Seisetsu Sh?cho ???? A gibbous moon, rendered in reserve


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Moon amid Clouds early 19th century Inscription by Seisetsu Sh?cho ???? A gibbous moon, rendered in reserve

Moon amid Clouds early 19th century Inscription by Seisetsu Sh?cho ???? A gibbous moon, rendered in reserve, shines through a bank of ink-wash clouds, which seem to gnaw at the edges of the lunar orb--almost abstract in conception. The painting, profoundly Zen in its minimalism and mysterious expressiveness, is unsigned so the only clue we have about the identity of who brushed it is the double-seal reading "Gekij?" ??. Here the phrase on the seal derives from the four-character saying Kofuku gekij? ????, meaning, literally, "to pat one's belly and stamp the ground, " which is a roundabout way of expressing the blissful feeling of "everything in the world is at peace."We have yet to identify the artist who used this seal, though during the time the Rinzai monk-calligrapher Seisetsu Sh?cho was active there was a Nanga artist named ?ta Gekij?shi, who lived in Komatsushima on Shikoku island, coincidentally, perhaps, not far from where Seisetsu was born. Though at this point it remains complete speculation whether this seal might have been used by Gekij?shi, it seems too much of a coincidence that his patron, student and confidante later in his life was a scholar-monk named Kankanshi ??? (1752-1827), who had trained at a Zen temple Seisetsu was also affiliated with early in his life. Kankanshi at the end of his career retired to Komatsushima where he took painting lessons from Gekij?shi. So there is a possibility Kankanshi had requested the painting from his teacher and the calligraphy from the famous Zen-monk calligrapher--but this hypothesis requires further investigation.In the eccentric calligraphy by Seisetsu, the shape of the characters comes across as intentionally deformed, breaking rules of handwriting, and almost whimsical in appearance. The silhouettes of the characters are deliberately exaggerated, resonating with the abstract and mysterious ink painting below. The poem evokes imagery of somemisty moonlit night, keeping in mind the moon serves as a metaphor of

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