Long-term quest

A muscular ogre spits out a human being from its mouth upside down. You will first see this bronze figure in the museum lobby before you enter the exhibition rooms. ”The ogre who ate a lukewarm human being spits it out for its awful taste” is a story that the artist must have heard in early childhood. His name is Hirakushi Denchu (平櫛田中), a famous Japanese sculptor who died aged 107.


a special spice for the ogre-

verdant gale

I had known nothing about him two years ago, however, when I traveled along the Izura Coast of Ibaraki (五浦海岸、茨城県). There, I came across one of his masterpieces, Katsujinsen (活人箭), a Zen priest figure who holds a bow – a transparent bow; but certainly I saw it!
The mysterious image gradually came to the fore of my brain during the past two years, as if we were having a Zen koan dialogue. Eventually, I visited the museum located beside the house where the sculptor had spent his last 10 years. Viewing the Hirakushi works, the air about me seemed to expand, unbreathed; centrifugal, rather than centripetal. I felt my heartstrings tugged as I stood before his statue of Jingyu (尋牛), whose path of realization (satori) is likened to that of an old oxherd.

long-term quest

for an ox –

floating lotus leaves


One Response to “Long-term quest”

  1. I think the problem you have here is that it’s difficult to evoke a suitable reaction in your readers when what you are describing is a personal quest after work by a sculptor with whom most of us are unfamiliar! In other words, the subject matter is difficult to handle. I think you have tried valiantly to get across your passion for this work and, through the glimpses you give us of the sculptures of the ogre and Jingyu, we can begin to feel we are perhaps nearing the world that has tugged at your heart. こういうような俳文は難しいですね。

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