A child with rounded cheeks like a baby Buddha, who wears a cloth that is too large and Japanese sandals, stands at the riverside. Violet flowers are under his foot and a pussy willow with swelling buds is swaying in the breeze of spring. The word “muga” means attaining spiritual enlightenment in the world of Zen. While many painters mostly expressed the enlightenment by painting Buddhas and high priests, Taikan expressed it with just an innocent child. This innovative idea led the 29-year-old up-and-coming artist Taikan to his success. At the time, this work was described as “a great piece with an ambitious touch, not innocence.” Never a truer word was spoken, looking at his later life.


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