Lot 032

b. China, 1913 – d. Penang, 2002


Inscribed in Chinese with seal (upper right and centre left)
Ink & colour on silk
41cm x 20.5cm

Private Collection, Penang.

ESTIMATE  RM 5,000 - 7,000

Dato’ Chuk Mor was an artist, calligrapher, poet and most of all, one of the greatest Buddhist dharma masters. Here, he displays his painterly skills with a fine and delicate image of a single bird – blue head, white breast with brown wings and darkened tip – perched on a branch of bloomed hibiscus plant, depicted in characteristic style of the Chinese bird-and-flower ink and colour painting on silk. The bird-and-flower subject matter holds significant symbolic meanings in traditional Chinese paintings representing feminine beauty, virtues, good omens and fortune.

Dato’ Chuk Mor was an accomplished and learned calligrapher and painter of the Chinese brush genre. He enhanced his gift in calligraphy when he studied briefly under the legendary Lingnan master Gao Jian-fu (1879 - 1951) when based in Macau. 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 was 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. For his tremendous contributions in the world of Buddhism and Chinese art, he was conferred a ‘Dato-ship’ 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
, Edited by Ven. Chi Chern, 1984.