Three Buddhas with Poem from Monk Jichan

Title: Three Buddhas with Poem from Monk Jichan

Artist: Mansheng Wang

Date: 2010

Repository: On loan at Connecticut College

Size: About 8.5 x 11 inches

Medium: Ink and color on paper

Repository: Connecticut College

Description: This artwork created by Mansheng Wang depicts three Buddhas sitting in slightly different meditative positions under three archways. Although the Buddhas themselves are in black ink, Wang has surrounded them with gold drawing the viewer’s eye to this particular piece. Underneath the sitting Buddhas, there is calligraphy of a poem by the Monk Jichan. This poem links Wang to the canon of Chinese literati painting in which a literatus who is a scholar of Confucianism practices and perfects the three arts of painting, calligraphy, and poetry.

Analysis: Growing up during the cultural revolution in China, Wang was surrounded by the persecution of scholars and the arts. Wang’s art is inspired by his experiences traveling and interacting with nature both in China and America. In this piece Wang explores the ideas of the sacred Buddha enshrined in gold and seated on a lotus flower. The lotus flower symbolizes the enlightened state of the Buddha as well as wisdom and purification. The repetition of these Buddhas, with slight differences, creates a journey for the viewer as they explore the minute details achieved in this print. The use of black is traditional in the history of Chinese painting, but the gold he adds makes this piece stand apart from other depictions of the Buddha while also recalling the glimmer of Chinese bronze Buddha statues.


Roots Across Continents: Wang Mansheng’s Art, Yibing Huang (Connecticut College, 2021), Exhibition Catalog, Art://

Chu, Charles. “A Brief History of Chinese Figure Painting .” Connecticut College Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives, Connecticut College, 2009,

Author: Bella Sorrenti

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *