Teaching Ideas

Encouraging Dialogue

For Students K-12

  • Daruma, the founder of Zen Buddhism, was among Hakuin's favorite subjects. If you were going to paint a portrait, who would you paint? What qualities would you emphasize in their portrait?

  • The writing above his head is called calligraphy. In Japan, the beauty of a message written in calligraphy can be as important as the information it conveys. This calligraphy is a poem about Zen Buddhism. Zen Buddhism focuses on meditation. Do you know how to meditate? Put yourself in a pose or position that is good for quiet reflection.

  • Is this painting a reverent portrait of Daruma or a caricature? Can it be both? Explain your answer.

  • How is this scroll similar to Tiger (1972.13)? How is it different?

  • How do text and image work together on this scroll? Consider methods of communication in the twenty-first century. For many in the United States, personalized, handwritten communication is quickly being replaced by e-mail and other forms of electronic communication which use premade fonts. What impact do premade fonts have on our communications? Can a person’s handwriting convey information that an electronic message cannot?

Making Connections

For Students K-12

  • Look again at the artwork and consider the types of lines and amount of ink the artist Hakuin used to create the portrait of Daruma. Then, pair up with a classmate and take turns drawing each other using as few lines as possible, yet emphasizing key features of your subject. Experiment with different materials, including pencil, ink, pastel, and paint.

  • Hakuin created this work many years after Daruma lived. He created this image based on the stories and artworks about Daruma that others had created. Choose an important historical figure and review several written accounts of that figure. Then, create an illustration of that figure based on those written accounts.