|By the priest Wuzhun Shifan
|China, Southern Song dynasty, 13th century
|Materials and techniques
|Hanging scroll, ink on paper
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.