zenshuu soshizou 禅宗祖師像
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Lit. images of patriarchs of Zen 禅 sects. Paintings of Zen patriarchs. Although all schools of Buddhism create images of famous priests, this tendency is particularly strong in the Zen tradition where correct transmission of the Dharma (or Buddhist Law and teaching) directly from master to disciple is paramount. A portrait of a master was frequently given or used as a kind of graduation diploma marking the spiritual enlightenment of the disciple(s). The genre includes both imaginary portraits in painting and sculpture of the first six patriarchs -- Bodhidharma (Jp: *Daruma 達磨), Huike (Jp: Eka 慧可; see *Eka danpi 慧可断臂), Sengcan (Jp: Sousan 僧さん), Daoxin (Jp: Doushin 道信), Hungjen(Jp: Kounin 弘忍), and Huineng (Jp: Enou 慧能), as well as portraits, usually based on drawings from life or on the death bed of later Chinese and Japanese priests. The genre probably began in the Tang dynasty and later was greatly stimulated by visiting Japanese monks who desired tangible proof of their foreign education.

*chinsou 頂相 

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