Nantembo clearly delighted in the expressive potential of abbreviated imagery that becomes self-portraiture. He rendered his favorite subject, his Zen training stick of nandina, by striking the paper with a heavily loaded brush and then dragging it downward to indicate the length of the stick vivid evidence of the physicality of his approach. (Audrey Yoshiko Seo: The Art of Twentieth-Century Zen. Paintings and calligraphy by Japanese masters, Shambhala: Boston and London 2000, p. 32.)
"This stick beats a man
rather than bad spirits."
Nantembo Nakahara (1839-1925), 1923
Ink on paper
134.5 x 33.7 cm (53 x 13 1/4 in.)
Mounting 201 x 37 cm (79 x 14 1/2 in.)