The subject is a poem, “Chiku (take) Sekijitsu yugen shiki ichigeki shishi shikai sei kasei”. Five columns of characters, one very large character.

Artist: Obaku Nangen 南源性派 (1631-1692)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1671
Ink on paper
H x W (image): 27.1 × 60.5 cm (10 11/16 × 23 13/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan
Provenance research underway.

The subject is a poem, "Chiku (take) Sekijitsu yugen shiki ichigeki shishi shikai sei kasei". Five columns of characters, one very large character.


Seals: "Goso goho," "Seiha no in" and "Takushi Nangen".


Poetic couplet by Nanyuan Xingpai 南源性派 (Nangen Shōha, 1631–1692), in running-cursive script

昔日香嚴曾一擊 , 至今四海播嘉聲 。
辛亥冬日 , 黃檗南源書

Once long ago Xiangyan heard a single pebble strike it,
Until today that splendid sound spreads across the seas.
Written by Huangbo Nanyuan (Jp: Obaku Nangen) on a winter day in the xinhai (Jp: shingai) year (1671)

(Translation by Stephen D. Allee)

Seals: (3)
Wutan wufeng (Jp: Goso goho)『五潭五峰』 (rectangle relief) – upper right
Xingpai zhi yin (Jp: Shōha no in)『性派之印』(square relief)–after signature, top
Shi shi Nanyuan (Jp: Takushi Nangen)『釋氏南源』 (square intaglio)–after signature, bottom

This couplet refers to the enlightenment (satori) of the late-Tang dynasty Chan (Zen) monk Xiangyan Zhixian 香嚴智閑 (died 898), a younger contemporary of, and from the same religious lineage as, Huangbo Xiyun 黃檗希運 (Jp: Obaku Kiun, died 850) and Linji Yixuan 臨濟義玄 (Jp: Rinzai Gigen, died 866), founders of the Zen sect to which Nanyuan later belonged. One day when Xiangyan was sweeping the walkway by his retreat, a pebble flew off his broom striking the nearby bamboo. The sharp report of its impact triggered his sudden enlightenment.

Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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