K247 Kan by Nakahara Nantenbō 中原南天棒

KAN (Barrier)
Ram straight through it!
(signed) the eighty-six-year-old fellow Nantenbō Tōjū
八十六翁南天棒郵州
従這裡入
Nakahara Nantenbō (中原南天棒,1839-1925)
K247
hanging scroll, sumi on paper 121.8 cm × 21.8 cm.

 

The huge character is kan, meaning “barrier.” It represents the various koans that a Zen student must struggle through. All of us are faced with various barriers in our life and Zen tells us to deal with them directly and with full force. The calligraphy is wonderfully expressive and it looks like a contemporary piece of abstract art.