By the priest Muso Soseki



Artist By the priest Muso Soseki
Period Kamakura period, 14th century
Materials and techniques Hanging scroll, ink on paper
Size 106.7×29.0


Musō Soseki was born in Ise (present Mie prefecture), received instruction from Mugaku Sogen (the founder of Enkakuji Temple in Kamakura) and later founded the Tenryū-ji and Sōkoku-ji temples in Kyoto. He was an influential Zen master and spiritual mentor to both Emperor Godaigo and Shōgun Ashikaga Takauji. The pale Indian ink and the spontaneous brushwork of this one-line work, which reads: “this road leads to everything”, is reminiscent of the broad-minded and warm personality of Musō Soseki.
200. Calligraphy By the priest Muso Soseki Kamakura period (14th century) Hanging scroll Ink on paper 106.7 x 29.0 cm Muso Soseki (1275-1351) was a follower of Mugaku Sogen, the founder of Engaku-ji Temple. A prominent priest, he was revered by Emperor Go-Daigo and Lords Ashikaga Takauji and Tadayoshi of the Northern Court as well as Emperors Kogon and Komyo of the Southern Court, even when the two Courts were at war with each other. He became abbot of Nanzen-ji, Jochi-ji and Engaku-ji and founded Tenryu-ji and Shokoku-ji. His disciples include such great men as Shun'oku Myoha, Gido Shushin and Zekkai Chushin. He was spiritual mentor to seven emperors and is known as the "teacher of seven emperors". Soseki was a great calligrapher, especially skillful in sosho, the cursive script. From the old times, his Zen calligraphy won wide acclaim, surpassed, it was said, only by Issan Ichinei (third abbot of Nanzen-ji Temple). In this representative piece by Soseki, calligraphy executed freely in light ink reflects his warm and magnanimous character.