7037/36 A pair of six-fold paper screens painted in ink on a buff ground with panels of calligraphy.
Japan 17th/18th century Edo period
Dimensions: H. 67¾” x W. 145½” (172cm x 369.5cm) each
The calligraphy on these screens refers to a passage from the Zhong-yong (Jp. Chūyō): The Doctrine of the Mean. The Middle Way.
“Sincerity is the Way of Heaven. Making oneself sincere is the Way of Man. If you can be perfectly sincere without effort, without concern regarding its attainment, and walk embracing the Middle Way, you are a sage. If you are working at making yourself sincere, you must find your goodness and hold fast to it. You must study it broadly, investigate it in detail, deliberate on it carefully, discern it clearly and practice it universally.”
Zisi 481–402 BCE., Born Kong Ji, he was a Chinese philosopher. Zisi, who was the only grandson of Confucius, supposedly taught Mencius and wrote the Doctrine of the Mean. He is honorifically called Zisizi (Master Zisi). Where his grandfather began to distinguish between true and supposed knowledge, Zisi proceeded upon meditations on the relativity in human knowledge of the universe. He attempted to analyse as many types of action as possible, and believed that wise people, who are conscious of their moral and intellectual duties, can copy the reality of the universe into themselves.