Shimizu Kosho | Landscape
He pushed the reset button. At seventy Shimizu Kosho put an end to his monastic career. He was looking back on his moving up the ladder of hierarchy – the steps he took and the steps he was pushed up. He looked back – and not in grief – on his years as the director of Todai-ji High School, the monks' academy, of Todai-ji girls' school, and Todai-ji Kindergarten, the time he was named head of religious affairs of the entire Kegon tradition of Buddhism, and final being appointed the 207th Abbot of Todai-ji in 1975. In 1981 he resigned.
But he was not only looking back on a career, on responsibility, and duty in Nara’s most prestigious temple. He was also remembering the years he spent in Kyoto. In 1933 after graduation from Ryukoku University and before returning to Todaiji in Nara he spent four years in Tenryuji temple where he was immersed in Zen meditation and ink painting and where Seki Seisetsu (1877-1945) an accomplished ink priest was his teacher, guide, and mentor. In those years as seed was planted in Kosho's heart which grew, flourished, and blossomed half a century later when he gave his life a new turn.
Kosho as an artist was largely self-taught, he liked experimenting, and was not afraid of the spontaneous, the bold, and the bizarre. Exemplary for this attitude is this painting. A voluminous landscape sculpted with ink and brush. “Covering clouds brewing rain” is the rather gloomy title he squeezed in on the very top of this his wonderful painting.
Shimizu Kosho (1911-1999)
Ink on paper
131.8 x 32.8 cm (52 x 13 in.)
Mounting 195.8 x 45.6 cm (77 x 18 in.)
Original box (tomobako)