Sensu Kassan 船子・夾山
KEY WORD :  art history / paintings
Ch: Chuanzi Jiashan. A painting subject of the meeting between the Chinese Zen 禅 priests Chuanzi (Jp:Sensu 船子) and Jiashan (Jp:Kassan 夾山) during the 9c. Chuanzi, after leaving monastic life, took a job ferrying a small boat across the river at Songjiang 松江, present day Shanghai 上海. While on his boat, Chuanzi was fond of instructing his passengers about finding self-realization, lifting an oar and asking "Do you understand?" He thus gained the nickname the priest Ferryman (Ch: Chuanzi Heshang; Jp: Sensu Oshou 船子和尚). One day the priest Jiashan (805-880) came on board the boat and Chuanzi engaged him in a dialogue. According to one version, Chuanzi threw Jiashan into the water, then hit him three times with his paddle, whereupon Jiashan reached enlightenment. In any case, Chuanzi, realizing that in Jiashan he had found a worthy successor, jumped into the river and sank. Typically paintings show Jiashan on the boat and Chuanzi in the water. Among Japanese painting on the subject, Hasegawa Touhaku's 長谷川等伯 (1539-1610) screen painting Zenshuu soshi-zu 禅宗祖師図 in Nanzenji Tenjuan 南禅寺天授庵, Kyoto, is well known.


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