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Confucian Enso

The human heart is restless,

unsure  of the right path;

it is necessary to have a clear focus,

and hold fast to the mean. 



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Dimensions: 46x22

Purchase Ref #: 4186

Gallery: Koichi Awakawa

Scroll Notes: Good condition with original mounting.


The inscription is a quote from the Chinese classic The Book of Documents: Counsels of Yu the Great. Yu the Great (c. 22002100 BC) was the sage-emperor that founded the Xia Dynasty. In Chinese history, he is honored as "Great Yu who Controlled the Waters" for his heroic work controlling the flooding of the Yellow River. Yu spent thirteen years living with the laborers and sharing in the work of dredging riverbeds and building irrigation canals and dams. Yu is lauded for his high moral standards and ethical behavior—an example of the perfect ruler that Confucius admired. This quotation of Yu is a rather unusual inscription for an enso; the Zen circle can be taken as a symbol of the enlightened mind that remains unperturbed, fluid, and centered.

About the Artist

Awakawa was a professor of economics who fell in love with Zen art. He built a Zen art gallery at his home, and his book Zen Painting introduced this wonderful art form to the world at large. Awakawa himself did zenga in the Sengai style: brushed in light gray shades with zany, cartoonlike composition.

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