OFF-SITE EVENT Awakenings: Zen Figure Painting in Medieval Japan–Curatorial Lecture

March 26, 2007
past event image
Lecture past event

Monday, March 26
 2 pm

Held at the International Asian Art Fair.

Chan/Zen communities in China and Japan understood themselves to be the only practitioners of Buddhism who represented an authentic transmission of the Buddha’s wisdom, or dharma, down throughout the centuries until the present. Over time, a mythology of the special transmission developed among Chan/Zen communities, in which those figures responsible for preserving and conveying the dharma to the next generation were increasingly imagined as eccentric, inscrutable and larger-than-life. The practice of pictorializing these figures began in Song-dynasty China and spread to Japan during the Muromachi period, in the process becoming one of the aesthetic practices most closely identified with Zen Buddhist culture. Figure painting thus became the primary genre through which Chan/Zen communities imagined their own histories and identities. In this lecture, Yukio Lippit, co-curator of Awakenings: Zen Figure Painting in Medieval Japan and Assistant Professor, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University, explores the history and development of this artistic genre through an introduction to some of the most important examples on view in the Japan Society Gallery exhibition Awakenings: Zen Figure Painting in Medieval Japan (March 28-June 17, 2007).

Held as part of the International Asian Art Fair at the Seventh Regiment Armory, Park Avenue at 67th Street. For tickets, please contact the International Asian Art Fair, (212) 642-8572.


  • Monday, March 26, 2007
  • 2:00 pm