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Hotei, God of Fortune, Watching at Cock Fighting
Important Art Object

MIYAMOTO Musashi (1584-1645)
Japan, 17th century
H.71.2 cm, W.32.7 cm

Miyamoto Musashi was a great swordsman of the early Edo period(1600-1868) and founder of the Niten Ichiryu school of swordsmanship. He was also a fine painter and calligrapher, styling his calligraphy after the Southern Song dynasty Chinese artist Liang Kai, and his painting after the Japanese artist Kaiho Yusho(1533-1615). At the moment the two cocks are just ready to fly at each other, Hotei gazes down calmly. Matsunaga Jian, the tea master who owned this work, pronounced, "Hotei, as Absolute Ruler, is peering at the never-ending struggles of the world." If seen as an exploration of the boundaries Miyamoto Musashi followed through his countless life-and-death battles, this work becomes even more fascinating.

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