Member's pick zen snail
Member’s pick

Member’s Pick: Zen Painting of a Snail

Member's pick zen snail

Deiryu Kutsu (Kanshu Sojun) 泥龍屈(寛州宗潤) (1895-1954). Ink on paper scroll painting (ca 29x30 cm) with a paper mounting (ca 34x116 cm).

Member's pick: Zen Snail Painting
This member's pick is a paper scroll with an ink painting of a snail by Deiryu Kutsu (Kanshu Sojun) 泥龍屈(寛州宗潤) (1895-1954), a Buddhist monk and painter.
The snail and the surface on which it is positioned are painted in a few brushstrokes with heavily watered ink. The snail's antennae seem to point at the calligraphy. 

We invite you to share your view on the most fitting English translation and the most fitting description of the meaning of the calligraphy. According to the description that went with the painting the calligraphy reads 隨處 為主, Find yourself everywhere [you may go]. 隨處 is ‘everywhere’ or ‘anywhere’. Translations given for 為主 are ‘to rely mainly on’, ‘to attach most importance to’, ‘dominated’, ‘focussed’, ‘to give priority to’ and ‘mainly’. Thus, the translation of the text might also be ‘mainly anywhere’.
Deiryu painted several other snails with texts such as ‘Where he goes, he carries his home – the snail’ and ‘Master, wherever it goes, the own house, the snail’.  These texts not only describe the natural state of the snail, carrying its home, but also have a deeper meaning linked to Zen learning which emphasizes a reliance on oneself. The deeper meaning learns that enlightment is achieved only through one’s own determination, dedication to meditation and Zen training. The calligraphy in this painting probably focuses on its deeper meaning and expresses the Zen notion that we always carry with us what we need.

Call for member's picks
Do you have an interesting object or a personal favourite you would like to showcase? It can be an object from your collection, but also a personal favourite from a museum or another collection. You can submit a photograph and a short post, with a description of the object and a short explanation why this object is special to you to the secretary ( Your pick will be posted on our website and social media. Member's picks can be anonymous.