During his life as a monk, Sengai Gibon (1750-1837) was admired for not only his artistic ability but also his modesty and simplistic way of life. Despite his social status, he chose to don an everyday black robe instead of one of distinguished purple silk, and his beliefs were reflected in what is now one of the most extensive collections of Zen ink paintings and calligraphy in Japan.
This exhibition showcases the Zen life that Sengai immersed himself in, focusing on the artistic message and teachings within his impressive body of work, which is now housed at the Idemitsu Museum of Arts.
Works from the Shosaian (Hermitage of Priest Ikkyu) Collection related to Priest Ikkyu, another popular Zen priest, are also on display; Sept. 21-Nov. 4.
Idemitsu Museum of Arts; 03-5777-8600; 9F Teigeki Bldg., 3-1-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Yurakucho Station, JR lines. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Fri. till 7 p.m.) ¥1,000. Closed Mon. (except Sept. 23, Oct. 14, Nov. 4). www.idemitsu.com/museum