Important Cultural Property

Calligraphy

By the priest Wuzhun Shifan

Information

Data

Artist By the priest Wuzhun Shifan
Period China, Southern Song dynasty, 13th century
Materials and techniques Hanging scroll, ink on paper
Size 31.5×86.5

Explanation

Priest Wuzhun Shifan (the calligrapher of these two impressive characters which read “returning clouds”) had taught Zen principles to Emperor Lizong of the Southern Song dynasty at the latter’s behest and was awarded the title of Zen Teacher Mirror of the Buddha. Among his disciples was En’ni Ben’en (a.k.a. Shōichi Kokushi), a Japanese student studying in China, who had followed the instruction of his mentor and later founded Tōfuku-ji Temple on returning to Japan. Tōfuku-ji Temple has preserved through generations many pieces of calligraphy brought from China, of which some are works by Priest Wuzhun given to En’ni. This calligraphy, probably meant to be posted on a high tower of the temple, was later owned by the Tokugawa family.