Winds chase clouds | Shimizu Kosho

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Shimizu Kosho
(1911-1999)

In 1981 Shimizo Kosho resigned from his position as the abbot of Todaiji Temple in Nara. A position which was the end of his monastic career and the beginning of a new one. Shimizu Kosho threw himself into art. More than ever before. Impulsive, cheerful, eccentric.

Shimizu Kosho was between jobs in a way. In 1933 after graduation from Ryukoku University and before returning to Todaiji in Nara he spent four years in Tenryuji temple. There Seki Seisetsu (1877-1945) was his teacher, guide, and mentor. And those years were formative. May be spiritually but certainly artistically since Seisetsu was not only a priest but also a prolific painter. He planted a seed in Kosho’s mind which grew, flourished, and blossomed many years later. 

Since the circle motive is so closely associated with the Zen painting practice, Kosho’s Enso can be seen as a homage to his former teacher Seisetsu. And even the poem that Kosho places next to the circle echoes the distant sound of familiar sentences we often encounter in Zen related artefacts: “Winds chase clouds – And clouds follow the winds.”

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