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Hasegawa Tohaku, Japanese (1539-1610) Momoyama

Pair of six-fold screens (Right screen of monkeys reproduced here. See accompanying screen of bamboo grove [missing — see item 13].) Ink on paper; H. 60 in., W. 132 1/2 in. each. From the collection of Shoko Ku-ji, Kyoto, Japan. Photographed by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.


The monkey, along with the crane, was a symbol of the wild, unfettered life, the unspoiled beauty of nature, for which the civilized, city-stiffled Chinese longed. This unlikely pair was also fondly spoken of as the perfect companions: The Zen master Dogen noting that if he used the title and robe conferred upon him by the emperor, he would be "laughed at by the monkeys and cranes among whom he lived as the old man in the purple robe."


© Aspen No. 10, Section 6 





Original format: Single sheet printed on both sides, 6 by 13 1/2 inches, folded in half.



Adapted for the web by Andrew Stafford.
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