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Exhibition of Suiō Genro’s Zen paintings and bokuseki, along with the airing of other Institute for Zen Studies artworks

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Date 2011/10/3
Place Hanazono University Museum of History (Fourth Floor of the Mushōkan Building)
Details suiouten_pnf.jpgThe Institute for Zen Studies, in conjunction with the Hanazono University Museum of History, sponsored an exhibition of the Zen paintings and calligraphies of Zen master Sui’ō Genro, held in the autumn of 2011. There was a simultaneous show of works from the Institute for Zen Studies’ collection.
         Sui’ō Genro (1717-1789) was one of the most important disciples of Hakuin Ekaku (1685-1768). Hakuin was not only the reviver of Japanese Rinzai Zen but also an artist whose powerful, often humorous Zen paintings have attracted attention from around the world. Hakuin’s artistic talents were shared by several of his disciples, most notably Sui’ō and Tōrei Enji (1721-1792). As personalities, Tōrei is remembered as meticulous and detailed while Sui’ō is remembered as bold and daring, but in their paintings these qualities are reversed. Tōrei’s brushwork is free and strong, while Suiō’s is more scrupulously modeled on Hakuin’s style.
         The exhibition featured sixty paintings and calligraphies from the collections of the temple Yōmei-ji in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture and various individuals. This was the first exhibition to focus solely on the works of Suiō. It is our hope that this exhibition will promote interest in Suiō’s work and help viewers taste something of the flavor of Suiō’s Zen.
Time: October 3 to December 20, 2011
Suiō Genro: Suiō was born in Shimono, in present Ibaragi Prefecture. His lay name was Eboku 慧牧. At the age of thirty he became a disciple of Hakuin, under whom he trained for the next twenty years until receiving transmission. Following Hakuin’s death he assumed the abbacy of Hakuin’s temple Shōin-ji at Tōrei’s urging. In 1774, on the occasion of the seventh annual memorial service for Hakuin, Suiō lectured on the Sanshō goroku. He passed away in December 1789 at the age of 72. He is the author of The Acts of Hakuin Oshō and other works.