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Posted By: Will Mon, Sep 10, 2018 IP: 2003:e3:7f06:2b99:54


well I have to admit that I have absolutely no affection with calligraphies. Maybe I simply lack the cultural understanding of this kind of art.

But I am sure someone on this board can tell me something about this painting and the artist.
Unfortunately the upper seal will probbaly be difficult to decipher though.


Posted By: Super Tue, Sep 11, 2018

I am a bit surprised nobody tries to tackle this one but I have to readily admit that trying to decipher 草書 (Chinese cursive scripts) is simply asking for troubles since anybody can create their own cursive scripts (just like English cursive). I vividly remember I used to write diary in Chinese cursive when I was a teenager and when I tried to read them sometime later I could not even read my own cursive scripts.

I am 95% sure these large Chinese cursive scripts (from top to bottom) are:

Zhēn xīn shì sòng fú

Now trying to translate it may not be easy. My wife shows me a Chinese magazine on which an article tries to translate a Chinese recipe written in Cantonese (there are no scripts for some Cantonese words) into English. The English translated result was so bad and hilarious that she kept laughing and I laughed with her too.

I put 真心是送佛 in the Google translation and got this:
Really is to send Buddha

which did not make any sense.

真心 - pure heart; usually means a person with a pure heart (with only kindness or good intention and no evil intents toward others), often used in buddhism.
是 - is, same as, equal to;
送佛 - escort the buddha, came from
which means if you truly wants to help somebody, you should escort (or send) the buddha all the way to the west (means do your best to help others until the end).

Therefore this whole sentence:
can be translated as:
A pure-heart (kind) person is the one who would help others until the end (completely and not half way).

Hope this helps and please do not ask me to decipher other scripts or seals. It will take too much time, hope others can help.


Subject:Re: 真心是送佛
Posted By: Will Wed, Sep 12, 2018


Thanks a lot for this detailed reply.

Subject:Re: 真心是送佛
Posted By: mikeoz Wed, Sep 12, 2018

Hi Super,

What a task!

Accepting your reading of the last character as Fo 佛 even though it has been written as 坲, which I believe is an alternative writing for Fo, the Buddha.

However, I would like to suggest consideration of another reading of the first character, based on the flow and direction of the brushstroke. I read it as Dao Xin 道心 with a possible meaning of "a Daoist mind". Thus the phrase might be A Daoist mind follows the Buddha. The closeness in philosophy between the teachings of LaoZi and ZhuangZi and the practices of Chan 禪 (Zen) Buddhism could make this saying pertinent.

And the seals remain indecipherable.

Subject:Re: 真心是送佛
Posted By: rat Thu, Sep 13, 2018

Nice job Super, I would have gotten it wrong. Part of the skill involved is cultural familiarity--without previously knowing this phrase and what it represents, I am left with only the altered characters to figure out. Perhaps that is how the seals and writer's inscription now feel to you too!

Subject:Re: Calligraphy
Posted By: I.Nagy Wed, Sep 12, 2018

Reading and transliteration of the calligraphy in Japanese,
直心是道場 - Jikishin kore dōjō
In my rough translation it sounds "Straightforwardness is the place where rites are performed"
This maxim is attributed to Vimalakirti, a contemporary and patron of Gautama Buddha.
My reading of signature,
山法顕書 - Written by San Hokken (Name of a Buddhist monk)

With regards,
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