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Woodblock print by Bunsen, 1831.

As a child I was fascinated by an old Japanese picture book which my grandfather occasionally let me look at - he'd bought it second-hand as a teenager in the first decade of the last century. Thanks to the internet (and to Richard Illing in particular) the book has now been identified as the 1855 reprint of Gyokunando Gafu, by a woodblock artist named Bunsen. This particular print appears to depict the legendary founder of Zen Buddhism, Bodhidharma (or "Daruma" as he is called in Japan)

Text copyright © 2001, 2023 Andrew May

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