Scroll, ink on paper, mounting on silk
102.5 (h) x 29.5cm (188 (h) x 41 cm)
Meiji-Taisho, 20th century
Two skeletons chatting and relaxing
Signed: Dōjin (unknown)
Two skeletons are chatting, relaxing and sitting outside in the moonlight.
The painting is accompanied by a poem:
Even a pine tree which lives thousand years eventually dies.
The rose of Sharon blooms only for a day but it has also its glory.
The quote is taken from a poem by Bai Juyi (772-846) who was a renowned Chinese poet and Tang dynasty government official. It continues:
Why should we worry about death?
Or should we be afraid to live?
Birth and death are just temporary illusions
Why should we care about the sadness and joy in these illusions?
The poem exhorts us to take advantage of the days we have and to make the most of our time. Even beyond the grave, the transmission of Zen from master to student continues.