2023/12/31: San Francisco / “The Heart of Zen” Asian Art Museum exhibits revered masterpieces never left Japan before, Nov. 17 – Dec. 31

Persimmons, 13th century, attributed to Muqi (Chinese, active mid to late 13th century). China; Southern Song Dynasty. Ink on paper. Lent by Ryokoin Temple. Photo by Okada Ai, courtesy of the Kyoto National Museum.

SAN FRANCISCO -Opening Nov. 17 and closing Dec. 31, 2023, The Heart of Zen at the Asian Art Museum—Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art & Culture brings two equally unmissable

masterpieces exclusively to San Francisco: Persimmons (popularly known as Six Persimmons) and its companion Chestnuts.

Cloistered in a Kyoto temple, Six Persimmons is a storied, centuries-old ink painting originating from China that was once considered the ultimate expression of Zen Buddhism.

Attributed to the 13th-century monk Muqi, these exquisitely subtle compositions were painted in China and then crossed the ocean to Japan, where they have been designated Important Cultural Properties and treasured for centuries at Daitokuji Ryokoin Zen temple in Kyoto.

Thanks to a joint effort by Ryokoin and the Asian Art Museum, this exhibition offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view these two works in an intimate setting, as well as providing a rare glimpse into the world of a Japanese Zen temple.

The Heart of Zen explores the history and significance of these paintings, their place in temple life, and their eventual elevation as classic examples of Zen art in the United States.

In conjunction with the exhibition, sessions of zazen meditation will be offered as a means of cultivating a state of peaceful awareness.

While each of the museum’s exhibitions of internationally loaned work is intended to promote international peace and cross-cultural understanding, The Heart of Zen also has a uniquely personal dimension.

Please note that Six Persimmons and Chestnuts will be displayed individually, one at a time, for only three weeks each. Six Persimmons will be displayed Nov. 17–Dec. 10, while Chestnuts will be displayed Dec. 8–Dec. 31. Both works will be briefly on view together Dec. 8–Dec. 10. Space is limited, and entry into this special exhibition is on a first come, first serve basis.

Asian Art Museum – Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture, 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

The Heart of Zen
Nov 17, 2023 – Dec 31, 2023
Osher Foundation Gallery