The Kura - Japanese Art Treasures

Robert Mangold has been working with Japanese antiques since 1995 with an emphasis on ceramics, Paintings, Armour and Buddhist furniture.
Antique Japanese Carved Wood Fly Whisk, Scholar Art

Antique Japanese Carved Wood Fly Whisk, Scholar Art


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Directory: Vintage Arts: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Devotional Objects: Pre 1940: Item # 1419049

Please refer to our stock # MOR7101 when inquiring.
The Kura
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817-2 Kannonji Monzen-cho
Kamigyo-ku Kyoto 602-8385
tel.81-75-201-3497
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 $650.00 
A long wooden carving in the shape of a Buddhist dust whisk enclosed in a wooden box titled Mokkoku Hosu or Wooden Whisk with a poem written insde. The Japanese language description of this implement is Hosu and is more properly referred to in English as a ‘dust-whisk’, or ‘fly whisk’ in reference to its primary function of gently brushing away insects, although the word ‘fly’ does not appear in the original Chinese language title. The Buddha, his disciples and Bodhisattvas are often depicted as carrying the whisk. The Chinese Ch’an tradition continued this ancient Indian tradition and it was translated to Japan, where the dust-whisk is carried by a Buddhist master as a symbol of spiritual authority. This is also carried by Daoists and Taichi practitioners. The carving is 54 cm (21-1/2 inches) long and in excellent condition. Inside the box is written the last two lines of the following exchange, an excerpt from the poem contest by the illiterate monk Huineng, 6th patriarch of Chan Buddhism and Chinese Zen master Shenxiu, one of the most influential Chan masters of his day and patriarch of the East Mountain Teaching of Chan Buddhism. Shenxiu wrote:
The body is the bodhi tree
The mind is like a bright mirror's stand.
At all times we must strive to polish it
and must not let dust collect.
Huineng replied:
Bodhi has no tree.
The mirror has no stand.
Fundamentally there is nothing.
Where could dust arise?