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(sĕs`sho͞o'), 1420–1506, foremost Japanese master of ink painting (suiboku) and Zen Buddhist priest, also known as Sesshu Toyo. He may have studied under ShubunShubun
, fl. 1st half of 15th cent., Japanese painter and Zen Buddhist priest. He studied under Josetsu, and became the central figure in the renaissance in Japan of the Chinese style of ink painting.
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 in Kyoto. He made a trip to China (c.1467), visiting many Zen monasteries and studying the works of old masters. Adapting the Chinese style of landscape painting, he set the standard in ink painting for later Japanese artists. His brilliant, abstract interpretations of nature include the ink-splash landscape (1495) in the National Museum of Tokyo. Two sets of screens attributed to him are in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Freer Gallery, Washington, D.C.


See T. Nakamura, ed., Sesshu Toyo (1959); Sesshu's Long Scroll: a Zen Landscape Journey (1959).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(also Toyo Oda). Born in 1420 in Akahama, Okayama Prefecture; died in 1506 in Suwa, Yamaguchi Prefecture. Japanese painter.

Sesshu, a Zen monk, studied painting with the landscapist Shubun. From 1463 to 1469 he lived in China, where he studied the works of a number of 12th- and 13th-century masters, including Hsia Kuei. Sesshu’s works, executed in india ink, included landscapes and, to a lesser extent, portraits and representations of deities and animals. They are characterized by hardness and angularity of line; emphatically simple images convey the impression of instantaneous embodiment of creative intent.


Voronova, B. Toio Oda. Moscow. 1958.
Grilli, E. Sesshu Toyo (1420–1506). Rutland-Tokyo, 1957.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Works by Sesshu (around 1420-1506), who later became a monk, are characterized by their dynamic brush strokes and structured composition.
To the Westerner in search of the reintegration of man and nature there is an appeal far beyond the merely sentimental in the naturalism of Zen - in the landscapes of Ma-yuan and Sesshu, in an art which is simultaneously spiritual and secular, which conveys the mystical in terms of the natural, and which, indeed, never even imagined a break between them.
When his escape was cut off from a burning building, a Japanese collector who owned a late-fifteenth-century painting by Sesshu slashed open his body with a sword.
The newly discovered cave paintings of horses and bison and owls and hyenas at Chauvet are reassuring - thirty thousand years old and with lines that would make Gaudier blush and Sesshu bow - in that they (mutely) speak once more of the fallacy of progressive development in the arts.
The exhibition will be divided into three main sections: "Europe and the Mediterranean World," "Toward Cathay," and "The Americas." More than 31 countries throughout the world have loaned the Gallery works by artists as diverse as Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Durer, Sesshu Toyo, Shen Chou, Islamic scribes, the bronze-casters of Benin and the master goldsmights of the Americas.
Vernacular idiom or local color is registered in Fay Chiang's In the City of Contradictions (1979), Eric Chock's Ten Thousand Wishes (1978) and Last Days Here (1990), Sesshu Foster's Angry Days (1987), Juliet Kono's Hilo Rains (1988), Alan Lau's Songs for Jardina (1980), Genny Lim's Winter Place (1988), James Mitsui's After the Long Train (1985), Jeff Tagami's October Light (1987), and Ronald Tanaka's Shino Suite (1981).
In fact, the concept of "the marvelous void" is often equated with the large scroll paintings of Sesshu, the 15th-century Japanese artist who traveled to and from China in order to learn about the void.
There, in that corner, at that desk, from early afternoon until almost six the next morning I remade "Zen: The Rocks of Sesshu" and, soon, other poems, some of which, in time, would make my first real book, "Notes for a Guidebook."
If there is a connection between that poem and "Zen: The Rocks of Sesshu," it's that my war experience in the South Pacific led to a profound fascination with Japanese culture, and more importantly to a powerfully felt need for what I hoped Zen discipline might help fulfill.
The air was limpid, its pungencies and arabesques not stated, only implied, as in an ink painting by Sesshu or a Bach cello suite.
greatness in art--Saigyo in traditional poetry, Sogi in linked verse, Sesshu in