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The Art of Zen: Paintings and Calligraphy by Japanese Monks 1600-1925, by Stephen Addiss. Zen art, zen painting. Books, bookstore, dvd, video store.
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The Art of Zen: Paintings and Calligraphy by Japanese Monks 1600-1925

by Stephen Addiss

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Opinion of Marie Taylor from Roseville, CA USA

"The Art of Zen" is a beautiful, beautiful book and has taken its place on my read-again-and-again bookshelf. The 200+ page book is not only packed with the history of zen in Japan as exemplified by the major zen monk artists but complemented by many examples of their art. The history is divided into seven major periods that discussed the political and cultural climate of Japan as well as the philosophic perspective of Zen Buddhism.

There are extensive biographies of each of the major monk artists with examples of the work and, often times, their poetry. For example, the death poem of Ryonen, one of zen nuns, reads, "In the autumn of my 66th year, I've already lived a long time- The intense moonlight is bright upon my face. There's no need to discuss the principles of koan study; Just listen carefully to the wind outside the pines and cedars."

In addition, Addis brings an artist's eye to the paintings and his commentaries on technique, execution and innovation are enlightening (no pun intended)and help to explain how zen seeks to express the "inexpressible."

In addition, Addis brings an artist's eye to the paintings and his commentaries on technique, execution and innovation are enlightening (no pun intended)and help to explain how zen seeks to express the "inexpressible."

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Zen, in art, in the Japanese culture or with a desire to better understand the view of life seen by awakened men and women.



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