Portrait of Andō En’e


Portrait of Andō En’e

Japanese paintings / Nara

Kamakura period, 14th century/Gentoku 2, 1330

Hanging scroll; ink and colors on silk

H 119.5, W 57.9



Andō En’e (1285-1343) was a warrior in the Kamakura period and became an official of the Rokuhara-tandai, the Kamakura government’s administrative office in Kyoto. He studied Zen-Buddhism as a layman under Priest Seikan Shidon, who had come from China and served in Engaku-ji and Kenchō-ji temple in Kamakura. Later on, Andō En’e entered the priesthood, and in the year of his death he lived in Chōraku-ji temple in the province of Ueno as the Zen monk Nansō En’e. This portrait shows him as a warrior, but it is painted in the manner of the Zen patriarchs’ portraits. This portrait style was established some time around general Hōjō Tokiyori’s death (1263), owing to general Hōjō Tokiyori and his family’s favourable understanding of Zen-Buddhism.
The composition of this portrait is similar to compositions of Zen patriarchs’ portraits; The priest is seated on a chair which is covered by his outer garment. The face is depicted with fine lines in ink and moderate shading is added. En’e’s garment, which is decorated with a design of small flowers is made of some imported cloth. The inscription at the top of the portrait is not by En’e himself. The reason for this is that unlike the portraits of Zen patriarchs, this portrait was not made as an official certificate to be given to the portrayed priest. The inscription was written by the high priest Myōgoku Soshun of the Rinzai school of Buddhism who came to Japan in 1329. This is an excellent portrait and at the same time it is known as a notable calligraphic work written by Priest Myōgoku Soshun.

Masterpieces of Nara National Museum. Nara National Museum, 1993, p.66, no.49.

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