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－
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.
for an ox –
floating lotus leaves