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Mokuan Reien

Early Fourteenth Century-c. 1345 Japan/Sumi-e


Brief Biography-Mokuan Reien, the Japanese Zen priest, was second only to the Chinese Buddhist priest artist Mu-Qi. He also imported the sumi-e style or Chinese ink brush painting to Japan. He spent most of his life in monasteries in China. His hanging scroll, The Four Sleepers, depicts the eccentric hermit Kanzen with Jittoku, an orphaned kitchen worker from the local monastery who used to bring food to him. They would sit and ‘moon watch’ together with the monk Bukan and his pet tiger.


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four sleepers

the four sleepers