In heaven and earth all human beings
Carry a heavy load on their shoulders.
All human beings everywhere, without exception, bear the heavy burdens of suffering, impermanence, separation from loved ones, sickness, aging, and death. That is the way it is, and nothing can change those basic facts of existence. However, as we can see in this joyous Zenga, Hotei is not bothered by the heavy sack he carries on his shoulders. Actually, the bag is full of treasures that contain whatever one desires; it miraculously becomes more full as the contents are given away. (In other words, the more you give, the more you receive.)
Hotei is a Zen hobo, enjoying freedom from care, living in the present. In this Zenga, Sengai is telling us to carry our burdens lightly, to move on with a smile on our face, and not get bogged down with heavy baggage. Sengai brushed many Hotei Zenga, but this one looks especially happy.
Tea ceremony style mounting.
Age: Edo Period 18th-19th Century
Size: painting 9-3/4" x 14-3/8" (25 x 36 cm), overall 43-1/8" x 21-5/8" (109 x 55 cm)
Media: Ink on paper
Price: $7,500.00 USD