Main Themes of Zen Buddhist Paintings

In Zen Paintings, the portraits of famous Chinese monks or scenes of the moment of sudden enlightenment (頓悟) were used as major themes. Poems praising these saintly monks who left this mundane world were often inscribed on the top portion of the painting. Zen paintings earned popularity after 14th century In Japan. In this section, you may find representative themes used in Zen Buddhist paintings by observing paintings found in Japan.