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Returning Birds Bring Mountain Fragrance

Mokuan Shōtō was born in China and ordained at the age of nineteen. In 1655 the head of his order asked him to move to Japan and take over the position of abbot of the Fukusai temple in Nagasaki. In 1664, he became the abbot of the most important Obaku temple in Japan, the Manpukuji. In addition to being an important Buddhist cleric and thinker, Mokuan was one of the seventeenth century’s most famous calligraphers.

Mokuan Shōtō
Chinese (active Japan), 1611‒1684
Returning Birds Bring Mountain Fragrance
17th century
Ink on paper
52 ¼ x 16 1/8 in. (132.7 x 41.0 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Purchase with funds from the Thomas T. Solley Endowed Fund for the Curator of Asian Art, 2013.159