K001 Joyful Form Moves Heaven and Earth by Zentatsu 牷 䓠

Joyful Form Moves Heaven and Earth

Brushed by Zentatsu, abbot of Ryūmon-ji

龍 ryū
門 mon
頭 zu
侘 da
牷 zen
䓠 tatsu
書 shō


喜 ki
色 shoku
動 dō
天 ten
地 chi


Zentatsu Gyōnei (牷䓠行寧, 1669-1749)
K001 hanging scroll 204 cm × 39 cm, sumi on paper 128.2 cm × 34.8 cm.
This scroll is the first Zenga acquired by Kaeru-An. It can said to have set the Zenga ball rolling for the collection. (Zentatsu lived in Sendai where co-author John Stevens stayed for thirty-five years.) This is a wonderful example of Zen calligraphy, both for the dynamic brushwork and the meaning of the verse. Kishoku 喜色 means “a joyful look,” “all smiles,” or “jump with joy.” (Kishoku can also be construed as meaning “good sex.”) A happy, smiling face coupled with a positive attitude and joyful bearing can indeed make good things happen, and work wonders. The brushwork is extraordinarily spirited, bright and clear.