Artist: Sakai Hōitsu 酒井抱一 (1761-1828)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, ca. 1804-1817
Hanging scroll; ink and light colors on silk
H x W (image): 127 x 57.6 cm (50 x 22 11/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

Bodhidharma, Buddhism, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, kakemono, Zen Buddhism

To 1998
Andreas Leisinger, Zushi, Japan, to 1998

From 1998
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Andreas Leisinger in 1998

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Andreas Leisinger


Hoitsu's paintings, whether of bird-and-flower scenes or narrative episodes, were most often based on classical Japanese literature. When he occasionally produced Buddhist-related paintings, they were usually in full color and within the complex representational system of deities and mandalas found in esoteric Buddhist sects. This image of the founding Zen patriarch Bodhidharma (sixth century) was a thematic rarity for the artist. Zen-related painting favored the use of ink monochrome for its spontaneity. Hoitsu's technique of lush brushstrokes and subtle modulation of color on silk softens the severe simplicity associated with Bodhidharma images.

The two-line inscription suggests that adherence to societal norms binds the spirit with an invisible cord.

Published References
  • Ikeda Koson. Hoitsu Shonin Shinseki Kagami. Zenpen. 2 vols., . .
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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