宮本武蔵 Miyamoto Musashi’s Art & Calligraphy

Revered throughout the world as the greatest swordsman ever lived, 宮本武蔵 Miyamoto Musashi is known as kensei 剣聖, Sword-Saint, or Thánh Kiếm in Vietnamese.

IMG_1443

宮本武蔵 Musashi is recognized as a profound philosopher, an influential martial artist, a strategist and a deeply respected calligrapher and artist of ink on paper.

IMG_1547

Original painting 芦雁図, black ink on paper, by Miyamoto Musashi.

The original paintings by Miyamoto Musashi are preserved in the city of Kumamoto, on the island of Kyushu in Japan.

IMG_1528

It is written and often said that the above painting depicts a self-portrait by Miyamoto Musashi.  However, when I spoke to the curator of the Shimada Art Museum which owns the original work, the curator advised me that this is a misconception.   The original painting was not done by Musashi but a painter of the Meiji era.   In fact, Musashi did not create any self-portraits.

IMG_1531

宮本武蔵 Miyamoto Musashi, aged thirteen.

The various paintings depicting 宮本武蔵 Musashi of which the originals are also preserved and displayed at Shimada Art Museum are also not self-portraits by Miyamoto Musashi as it is misunderstood and misprinted elsewhere.

IMG_1538宮本武蔵 Musashi depicted in paintings by painters of the Meiji era.

IMG_1537

IMG_1535

Portraits of 宮本武蔵 Miyamoto Musashi.

宮本武蔵 Miyamoto Musahi’s works of ink on paper are highly respected.  He often painted scenes of nature and was a master calligrapher.

IMG_1412

The renowned painting of Kingfisher on Withered Branch by Musashi, painted during the 17th century.

Maybe, this painting of Kingfisher on Withered Branch is of my most cherished works amongst all of the paintings I’ve ever seen.

I was stunned when I witnessed the original painting and found out it was by the same master who wrote the The Book of Five Rings 語輪書, 宮本武蔵 Miyamoto Musashi.

IMG_1550

山水図 by Miyamoto Musashi.

When you see the original of this painting 山水図 by Musashi, you will see that it is particularly fresh and moving.

IMG_1592

Original letter to Hosokawa Family written by 宮本武蔵 Miyamoto Musashi.

IMG_1563

Handcrafted by 宮本武蔵 Miyamoto Musashi

In addition to working with black ink on paper, Musashi also worked with metals and forged sword guards amongst other items.

IMG_1565

Original sword guard, 17th century, designed and forged by Miyamoto Musashi.

IMG_1569

Katana swords, used by 宮本武蔵 Miyamoto Musashi, 14th & 15th century.

IMG_1566

Sword guard used by Miyamoto Musashi.

The original scroll of the Dokkodo composed by 宮本武蔵 Miyamoto Musashi has been preserved in Kumamoto since it was written the 1700s and is owned in a private collection by the Hosokawa Family, the same Hosokawa clan whose ancestors were the daimyo rulers of Kumamoto and who retained Musashi as a guest in Kumamoto in the final years of his life.

IMG_1554

Original work of a copy of Musashi’s Dokkodo, 16th century.

The original copy of The Book of Five Rings 語輪書 by 宮本武蔵 Miyamoto Musashi, written in 1642, did not survive the passage of time although its influence continues to grow around the world having been translated into numerous languages with many interpretations developed for business strategies and self-development based on Musashi’s teachings.

IMG_1572

Original copies of Miyamoto Musashi’s teachings by his disciples, circa 1800 & 1773.

IMG_1588

五輪書、風の巻. The Book of Five Rings, Scroll of the Wind, Edo period.

A number copies of the five scrolls that comprise of The Book of Five Rings 語輪書 were copied by Musashi’s students and disciples during the Meiji era and the originals of these transcripts are preserved and displayed at Shimada Art Museum.

IMG_1640

 Visit Shimada Art gallery and see more…

_____________

References:

Miyamoto Musashi, Exhibition, Shimada Art Gallery.

Miyamoto Musashi Works.

2 Comments:

  1. Really wonderful overview of Musashi’s various works. As an admirer of Musashi’s thoughts and life story, I thoroughly enjoyed this. Your passion for the artwork really shines through. Have bookmarked this page and will enjoy it again in future. I shall also print a couple of the pictures for my office wall.

    Thanks for writing,

    Chris

    • Hi Chris,

      It’s so great to be able to share with you the works of Miyamoto Musashi and know that we both hold his work in high regard and have respect for his life story and teachings. Soon, I will post my photos and writing about Musashi’s time when he lived in Kokura, Kyushu. Please come back check out the images of Kokura Hibun and Kokura Castle where Musashi lived briefly during the year 1634.

      I look forward to your future comments and feedback.
      Thank you so much!

      Trang

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *