Bodhidharma Meditating

Artist: Jin Nong (1687-1763)
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, 1762
Ink and colors on paper
H x W (image): 81.6 x 26.5 cm (32 1/8 x 10 7/16 in)
Credit Line
Transfer from the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

Bodhidharma, Buddhism, China, meditation, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), Zen Buddhism
Provenance research underway.

Bodhidharma was a Buddhist teacher from south India who traveled to China around C.E. 500.  There he founded the Chan (Zen) sect of Buddhism, which stresses silent meditation and rejects the study of texts, worship of images, and ritual performances.  It is said that Bodhidharma spent nine years seated before a wall in silent meditation, a feat that provides the subject of this painting.  In old age Jin Nong lived in a Buddhist monastery, so the subject of Bodhidharma may have held strong personal appeal for him.

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