19th May, 2023 13:00

Asian Art I

Lot 312

Monks Setting Out and Monks Returning


Monks Setting Out and Monks Returning

Taisho period, circa 1922

A pair of Japanese hanging scroll paintings, kakejiku, ink on paper, depicting a procession of monks equipped with staffs and wearing straw hats, each signed Hachijushi-o Nantenbo Tōjū (written by Nantenbo Tōjū, an old man aged eighty-four) and sealed Nantenbo, Hakugaikutsu, and Tōjū, the 'Departure' scroll inscribed Shikai unsui hachiu jorai (The monks of the world clanging their alms bowls like thunder) the 'Return' scroll inscribed Uto enritsu kagyo sonki (Round hats and staffs form a line how many return enlightened?)

130.5cm high, 30.5cm long (2)



English Private Collection, acquired from Hiroshi Yanagi at Tokyo Gallery, Kyoto in the 1990s

Nakahara Nantenbō (1839 – 1925) was a Rinzai Zen sect master, a prolific artist and a fervent reformer and teacher, he is said to have carried the torch of Zen into the 20th century. In his quick brushstrokes he relied on the works of old Zen masters such as Hakuin Ekaku (1686 – 1769) and the freshness of his style inspired generations of modern ink painters. Itinerant monks are Nantenbō's most famous motifs, examples of these compositions are found in the worlds best private and museum collections of Zenga, such as the San Francisco Gitter-Yelen Collection, the Amsterdam Kaeru-An Collection, and the Smithsonian’s Museum of Modern Art, Washington D.C.


Yuji Yamashita, Zenga-The Return from America: Zenga from the Gitter-Yelen Collection, 2000, pp. 146-174.

Stephen Addiss, The Art of Zen: Paintings and Calligraphy by Japanese Monks 1600-1925, 1989, p. 200, no. 113.

Sold for £1,000

Includes Buyer's Premium


Do you have an item similar to the item above? If so please click the link below to submit a free online valuation request through our website.



Drag and drop .jpg images here to upload, or click here to select images.