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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

"Zen Portraits Chinzō: Why do They Look as They do?"

P. 187-199.

This article discusses the phenomenon of ritual portraits of Zen masters (chinzō) and offers an explanation of why they differ stylistically from similar genres of portraits of patriarchs (sōshizō) and Daoist and Buddhist figures (dōshakuga). The stylistic peculiarity of chinzō which has never been explained in a reasonable way, derives, in my opinion, from their ritual usage and, most of all, ontological status. Chinzō served in the rituals of the transmission of Dharma and substituted the master himself after his demise.