Raisan imo wo yaku 懶さん芋をやく
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Ch: Lanzan weiyu. A Zen 禅 painting subject depicting the late 8c Chinese Zen priest Lanzan (Jp: Raisan 懶さん) baking sweet potatoes. His real name was Mingzan (Jp: Myousan 明さん) and he is said to have lived in retirement deep in the forests of Mt. Heng 享 in Hunan 湖南. The Tang dynasty emperor Decong ( Jp: Tokusou 徳宗, 742-805) heard of Lanzan's purity and sent a messenger to invite him to court. The messenger arrived to find Lanzan roasting sweet potatoes over a fire of cow-dung. Lanzan completely ignored the messenger, preferring his life of humble reclusion to the temptations of court life. Although the subject falls within the category of paintings of Zen hermits and eccentrics *sansei-zu 散聖図, the nature of the theme is also related to paintings of high-minded Confucian recluses such as Taigongwang (Jp: *Taikoubou 太公望) and the Four Graybeards of Mt. Shang (Jp: *Shouzan shikou 商山四皓). A screen painting of the subject by Hasegawa Touhaku 長谷川等伯 (1539-1610) at Myoushinji Tenkyuuin 妙心寺天球院 in Kyoto, is well known.


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