The Burke Collection
The Ten Ox-Herding Songs (十牛図巻) by the Monk Kakuan (Ch. Guoan, 廓庵; fl. ca. 1150) of Teishū Ryōzan (Ch. Dingzhou Liangshan, 鼎州梁山)
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Second song: “Seeing the Footprints of the Ox”

Catalogue information

Kamakura period, 1278

Handscroll (details, above); ink and color on paper

31 x 624.6 cm (12 1/4 in. x 20 ft. 5 7/8 in.)

Donated to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York by the Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation in 2015

Ex Coll.: Sorimachi Jūrō, Tokyo


Shinbo Tōru 1974, pp. 77–79
Shinbo Tōru
“Shinshutsu no Kōanbon Jūgyū zukan: Sorimachi Jūrō shi zō” (Recently discovered paintings depicting Zen enlightenment: The kōan scroll of Jūgyū zu). Bukkyō geijutsu / Ars Buddhica, no. 96 (May): 77–79.

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Murase 1992, p. 71
Murase, Miyeko
Il Giappone. Storia universale dell’arte: La civiltà dell’Oriente. Turin: UTET.

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Ebine Toshio 1994, fig. 31
Ebine Toshio
Suibokuga: Mokuan kara Minchō e (Ink paintings: From Mokuan to Minchō). Nihon no bijutsu (Arts of Japan), 333. Tokyo: Shibundō.

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Murase 2000, no. 42
Murase, Miyeko
Bridge of Dreams: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection of Japanese Art. Exh. cat. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Wada 2002
Wada, Stephanie
The Oxherder: A Zen Parable Illustrated. Translations by Gen P. Sakamoto. New York: George Braziller.

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Tsuji Nobuo et al. 2005, no. 33.
Tsuji Nobuo et al.
Nyūyōku Bāku korekushon-ten: Nihon no bi sanzennen no kagayaki / Enduring Legacy of Japanese Art: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Gifu; Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of Art; Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum; and Miho Museum, Shigaraki, Shiga Prefecture. [Tokyo]: Nihon Keizai Shinbunsha.

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Additional details



Song 2. Seeing the Footprints of the Ox

Commentary / Relying on sutras, one comprehends the meaning, / and studying the doctrines, one finds some traces. / As it becomes clear that differently shaped metal vessels / are all made from the same piece of metal, / one realizes that the myriad entities [one thinks one sees] / are formulated by oneself. / Unless one can separate the orthodox from the heretics, / how can one distinguish the true from the untrue? / Not having entered the gate as yet, / at least one has noticed the traces.

Poem / By the water, and under the trees, / there are numerous traces. / Fragrant grasses grow thickly, / did you see the ox? / Even in the depths of the distant mountain forest, / how could the upturned nostrils of the ox be concealed?

Song 4. Catching the Ox

Commentary / The ox lived in obscurity in the field for so long, / but I found him today. // While I am distracted by the beautiful scenery, / and the difficult chase, / the ox is longing for fragrant grass. // His mind is still stubborn. / And his wild nature yet remains. // If I wish him tamed, I must whip him.

Poem / With all my energy, I seize the ox. // His will is strong, and his power inexhaustible. / He cannot be tamed easily. // Sometimes he charges to the high plateau, // and there he stays, deep in the mist.


In the Year of the Fifth Tiger of the Kōan Era [1278], on the sixteenth day of the eighth month, I am inscribing the postscript of the Ten Pictures of the Ox; [illegible] gi


[at end of scroll] kaō