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Seki Seisetsu (1877-1945)
Rinzai Zenga
Heron on a boat in the evening
Signed: Tennô ..
Seals: Reikame sanshû, Seisetsu, Nen .. (top)
Technique: sumi on paper 32.5 x 42.7
Mounting: ochre damask and grey silk
black lacquered rollers, 123.5 x 50.7
Condition: fine

The haiku reads: 鷺一羽、線して船は、暮になり. Sagi hi toha / suzishite funeha / kurewori
A heron alone
on a boat reduced to a stroke
as the evening is closing in.
(HK)


Seisetsu was born in to a family of sake merchants. Due to local traditions children born at the first day of the first month in the year of the ox were given to neighboring villages. Seisetsu, born on that day, was given to Seki Soshun a priest from the Tenrin-ji near Tajima, Hyogo prefecture. So Seisetsu’s Zen training started on a very early age.

In 1893 when he was seventeen, Seisetsu was send to Kyoto as an attendant to Gasan Shotei (1853-1900) at the headquarters of the Tenryû-ji where he received a severe training. After Gasan’s death Seisetsu went to Kobe to establish the sub-temple Tokkôin where he remained as an abbot until 1913. Early 1918 Seisetsu went to China, after which he wrote a book. He became 240th generation kanchô, head abbot, of the Tenryû-ji in 1922.

Seisetsu was very much interested in art, his father was known as a painter and he would have liked to be a painter as well. He studied the art collections of the temple and after Dokuzan Gengi (1869-1938) had told him: ”See as many old paintings as possible, find structural influence that the heart understands, and which cannot be found else where”, he incorporated painting in his career. Seisetsu, the painter priest, was much indebted to Jiun Onkô (1718-1804) for his calligraphy.

Reference:
Seo pp. 153-166 (# 71-79)
Moog p. 380 ff

Availability: On Request