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Murase Taiitsu (1803-1881)
Nanga / Bunjin
Sixteen rakan
Signed: Taiitsu Rôjin heidai
Seals: Taiitsu Rôjin sanzetsu & Hakusetsu
Technique: sumi on paper 135,7 x 64
Mounting: green paper
191 x 74,7
Condition: Original mounting. Some wormage, mounting lightly soiled , otherwise good


Sixteen rakan
The sixteen Elders obstinately dispute the nature of "existence"
and "non-existence" according to ancient texts, yet they
have no idea of the real use of the dragon-creating alms bowl.
After all, these elders are slaves of Buddhist law. (John Stevens)
Comp. Sôjin ’83 p. 12, An enduring vision, 2002, cat. # 47

A playful Confucian comment on Buddhism in the early Meiji years
In Japan the sixteen rakan (Sanscr. arhats, Elders) are particularly popular in Zen Buddhism, where they are presented as models of behaviour and defenders of Buddhist moral values.