Robert Hatfield Ellsworth (born 1929), New York City, to 1998
Freer Gallery of Art, given by Robert Hatfield Ellsworth in 1998 
 All Chinese calligraphy in the gift were published in Mr. Ellsworth's Later Chinese Painting and Calligraphy: 1800-1950, vol. 3 (New York: Random House, 1986) (according to Curatorial Note 4, Joseph Chang, May 19, 1998, in the object record).
- Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)
Robert Hatfield Ellsworth 1929-2014
Bounty and increase for one and all;
Full and complete, supreme compassion.
As indicated in the small column of text on the right scroll, the calligrapher quoted these two lines from a Buddhist hymn at the end of chapter forty-four in the abstruse Avatamsaka Sutra (Garland sutra), which was preached by the Buddha directly after his enlightenment. Translated from Sanskrit into Chinese around 418-20 c.e., this sutra later became the central text of the Huayan School of Buddhism in China, which flourished during the Tang dynasty (618-907).
By the end of the nineteenth century, the young Li Shutong had already established his name as a traditional poet, author, painter, calligrapher, and seal carver. After studying Western art and music in Japan from 1905 to 1910, he returned to China a leading proponent of the new literature and worked as a journalist, literary and art editor, and college instructor. Despite his worldly success, Li experienced a profound spiritual dissatisfaction, and in 1918 he took holy vows as a Buddhist monk with the religious name of Hongyi, becoming a leading reformer of the clergy renowned for his austerity. Inspired by early sutra scrolls, Hongyi developed his own style of calligraphy, which is prized for its simple, unassuming character.
- Published References
- Robert Hatfield Ellsworth. Later Chinese Painting and Calligraphy: 1800-1950., 1st ed. New York. vols. 1, 3: pp. 328, 189.
- Thomas Lawton, Joseph Chang, Stephen Allee. Brushing the Past: Later Chinese Calligraphy from the Gift of Robert Haftield Ellsworth. Exh. cat. Washington. .
- Thomas Lawton, Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. pp. 256-261.
- Collection Area(s)
- Chinese Art
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