A Moment of Zen

The Buddha, a little shy hippopotamus and a dream robe.

Buddha Mahavairocana (Dainichi Nyorai), ca. 1150-1200
Cryptomeria wood

This sculpture was originally the main figure of worship in a temple, surrounded by other Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and guardian figures. Visitors would have come to pray or attend rituals and sutra readings performed by monks. The RISD Museum acquired the statue in the 1930s. Records state it was the principal image of Rokuon-ji, a Shingon sub-temple in Hyogo Prefecture, along Japan’s Inland Sea. Legend has it that the temple was destroyed by fire hundreds of years ago but that the statue was stored in a nearby farmhouse until 1933, when it was brought to the U.S. by the Japanese art dealer Yamanaka. The largest wooden Japanese sculpture in the United States, it was constructed from 11 hollowed and carved pieces of wood. Its simple surfaces and serene expression are representative of the late Heian Period.

Middle Kingdom to Second Intermediate Period, Dynasty 11-13
Hippopotamus, 2040-1638 BCE

Robe, 1800s
Silk tapestry weave (kesi) with handpainted decoration and applied compound-weave ribbon

RISD Museum, Providence, RI

November 23rd, 2018

The Watermill Center

A laboratory for the arts and humanities, a unique space for artists to explore, create and present their work, the brainchild of visual artist Robert Wilson and, for the two of us, an uplifting, almost spiritual experience.

It was Sunday, beginning of September and the Watermill Center was resting after a summer of buzzing activity. No one else was around, the grounds were ours to explore. In a strange, calming way we did not feel lonely; for the artists may have been absent but their essence still lingered in the air. And in the many totems scattered in the woods.

The Watermill Center, is a mere 5′ drive from the Parrish Art Museum and a 2-hour drive from Manhattan.

September 3rd, 2017

The Garden of the Heart of Heaven

A few moments of contemplation, allowing ourselves to absorb the various works of art we had just witnessed across the Museum’s galleries – and the warmth that comes with sunshine after the rain.

And then came the bunnies… There is a bunny hiding in this picture; an adorable little troublemaker, disrupting the peace.

The Garden of the Heart of Heaven
Designed by Kinsaku Nakane of Kyoto, Japan
Dedicated October 24, 1988

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
May 2nd, 2017