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Murase Taiitsu (1803-1881)
Nanga / Bunjin
Moving West
Signed: Taiitsu Rôjin heidai
Seals: Taiitsu Rôjin sanzetsu & Hakusetsu
Technique: sumi on paper 125,7 x 46,8
Date: 1881, fourth day of the first month
Mounting: brown paper
wooden rollers, 174 x 58,8
Condition: Good

西行
皇城忍看日蕭々
北面武人朝去朝
一擲妻児是難事
爾来無物孰銀猫

Moving West
It's sad to see the Imperial Palace daily more desolate,
Each dawn sees more samurai moving to the north
Leaving one's wife and children is truly a hardship.
Since that time there is nothing but this silver cat. (Addiss)
Comp. Addiss # 9, Sôjin ‘81 # 42, Sôjin ’92 # 4, Ichinomiya # 46,

Nanchuan saw the monks of the temple of Nanmchu fighting over a cat. Seizing the cat, he told the monks: ‘If any of you can say a word of Zen, the cat will be spared.’ No one answered and Nanchuan cut the cat in two. When the teacher Zhaozho returned to the monastery, Nanchuan told him what had happened. Zhaozho took off his sandals, put them on his head, and walked out. Nanchuan said: ‘If you had been there, you would have saved the cat.’ (http://sweepingzen.com/nanchuan-kills-a-cat/)

Like children, the monks were quarreling over a cat. It would kill the cat. The situation in Japan at the end of the Edo period might be compared with this Zen koan. Imperialists (south) and the bakufu (north) fight each other. Despite the outcome of the conflict, it would mean the end of the old Capital.

Availability: On Request