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Lot 085

b. China, 1913 – d. Penang, 2002


Signed in Chinese with seal lower left
Ink on paper
65cm x 42.5cm

Private collection, Kuala Lumpur.

ESTIMATE  RM 3,000 - 5,000

Dato’ Chuk Mor was an artist, calligrapher, poet and most of all, one of the greatest Buddhist dharma masters. He enhanced his gift in calligraphy when he studied briefly under the legendary Lingnan master Gao Jian-fu (1879-1951) when based in Macau. This work bears his calligraphy of a poem he wrote for a fellow Buddhist couple by the name of Chen Pei Hong and Zhu Shu Lan. The colophon conveys a message on rebonding with Nature through practising calm meditation, and ruminating on life as the clouds flit by, indicating time. Calligraphy is one of the most important Chinese cultural traits, and is imbued with the pictographic, indicative, logical and phonetic.

Dato’ Chuk Mor was an accomplished and learned calligrapher and painter of the Chinese brush genre. He was regarded as a great reformer of Mahayana Buddhism in Malaysia, infusing it with greater substance, meaning and clarity with his creativity and cultured background. He is best known as the abbot of the Triple Wisdom sanctuary in Penang which he set up in 1965. He also founded the Malayan (now Malaysian) Buddhist Association (1959), which he served as president for 12 years. He also founded the Malaysian Buddhist Institute that offers scholarship programmes. For his tremendous contributions in the world of Buddhism and Chinese art, he was conferred a Datoship by the Penang State Government in 1998. He became a novice monk at the Huangtang Souchang Temple at the age of 12 and was initiated as a full-fledged monk four years later. He then came under the tutelage of the great Buddhist reformist, Reverend Tai Zu. He helped cleanse the religion of confusion with Taoist practices in his devotional work in Hong Kong, Macau, Hawaii and Thailand before settling in Penang in 1954.

Autobiographical Notes of Dharma Master Zhu Mo, Ven. Chi Chern, 1984.