Budai  (布袋圖)

Southern Song-Yuan dynasty, 13th century, ink on paper, 96.5 x 41.3cm. Kyushu National Museum, Japan, Important Cultural Property. ⓒColBase(https://colbase.nich.go.jp/) 

Budai (布袋) with his big smile and fat belly is a legendary monk who is said to have lived in China. His name is derived from the ‘sack’ always carried slung over his shoulder, in which he kept alms. Hotei was called a master of Zen and was venerated as an incarnation of Maitreya Buddha (彌勒). In the painting, his beard and hair are drawn with light, dry brush strokes (淡墨), and the creases in his robe were drawn, in contrast, with wetter brush strokes. In the upper part, the Chinese monk Jianweng Jujing (簡翁居敬) wrote an inscription about Budai’s life.