Members pick: Zen Snail Painting

Members pick: Zen Snail Painting

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 it is sitting or moving on are painted in a few brushstrokes with heavily watered ink. The snails 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. Probably the calligraphy in this painting concentrates on the deeper meaning and expresses the Zen notion that we always carry with us what we need.

If you are a SJA-member you can contribute your view on the most fitting translation of the calligraphy and on the meaning of the text in the forum. https://www.societyforjapaneseart.org/snail-zen-painting. You are also invited to post other snail paintings by Deiryu and other Zen artists and to discuss these paintings in the forum. 

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).

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 favorite form 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 (secretary@societyforjapaneseart.org). Your pick will be posted on our website and social media. Members picks can be anonymous.

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