K069 Zen Skull by Nakahara Nantenbō 中原南天棒

Who knows where a human face will end up?
This is an old friend smiling in the spring wind.

(Oops!) I left out the character 何 after 知.
Brushed by the 79-year-old fellow Nantenbō

七十九翁南天棒州
依奮笑春風 知下何一宇脱
人面不知慮去桃花

     

Nakahara Nantenbō (中原南天棒, 1839-1925)
K069 hanging scroll, sumi on paper 115.0 cm × 31.5 cm.

Nantenbō often copied Tesshū as in this skull Zenga. Zen skull paintings tend to roughly drawn but this treatment, on the contrary, is rather detailed. The addition of the tiny “Oops” inscription is also unusual but a good illustration of the primary principle of Zenga—each piece, including the mistakes, is brushed one and for all.