Handwriting of the priest Seisetsu Shōchō


Handwriting of the priest Seisetsu Shōchō

calligraphy / Nara


Kamakura period, 14th century/Karyaku 2, 1327

Hanging scroll, ink on paper

H 32.7, W 101.5




Priest Seisetsu Shōchō (Qingzhuo Zhengcheng, 1274-1339) was a Zen priest during the Yuan dynasty in China. He was the successor of Priest Gugoku Chikei and is known as the younger brother of Priest Gekkō Shōin. Seisetsu Shōchō came to Japan in 1326, when he was fifty-three years old, and was staying in Kenchō-ji temple with the support by Regent Hōjō Takatoki. Later on, Shōchō was staying in Kennin-ji and Nanzen-ji temples. He edited a book on precepts of Zen Buddhism, the Daikan Seiki, which suited the Japanese way of living, and contributed to the development of Japanese Zen Buddhism.
The Buddhist sermon, which Seisetsu Shōchō delivered to Zen monks of the Gessō circle while he was in Kennin-ji temple, is written in the scroll introduced in this article. Special notes are also included in this scroll. The written seals of Prince Sondō, who was the cloistered prince Son’en’s younger brother-in-law, are found on the reverse side of the paper joint.
According to the inscription at the beginning of the scroll by Prince Sonjun, this scroll was written by the cloistered prince Son’en himself. It is a significant calligraphic piece edited and written by Son’en, who is well known not only as a Buddhist priest but also as a master calligrapher.

Masterpieces of Nara National Museum. Nara National Museum, 1993, pp.100-101, no.78.

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