Erik Thomsen 2010 - Erik Thomsen Gallery

Erik Thomsen 2010 - Erik Thomsen Gallery

Erik Thomsen 2010 Japanese Paintings and Works of Art Japanese Paintings and Works of Art Table of contents 3 5 49 79 91 102 110 120 126 2 Forewo...

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Erik Thomsen 2010 Japanese Paintings and Works of Art

Japanese Paintings and Works of Art

Table of contents 3 5 49 79 91 102 110 120 126


Foreword and Acknowledgements Screens Paintings Bamboo Baskets Lacquers Signatures, Seals and Inscriptions Notes Bibliography Index

Foreword and Acknowledgements

This publication, our fifth catalog in the series

I wish to thank our Frankfurt designer and photog-

Japanese Paintings and Works of Art, coincides with

rapher, Valentin Beinroth and Cem Yücetas, with-

two other events: our move to a larger gallery

out whom this catalog and our earlier publications

location in New York and our inaugural exhibition

would not have been possible. Above all I wish

there, Screens and Scrolls of the Taishō Period.

to thank my wife, Cornelia. It is only thanks to her strong partnership, encouragement and support

The new gallery at 67th Street between Fifth and

that our move to New York four years ago and the

Madison Avenues is a purpose-built space in a newly

establishment of our gallery since then has been

renovated townhouse. With double the wall space


of the previous location, it provides ample room for showing large pairs of screens and paintings. Erik Thomsen Our inaugural exhibition at the new location, Screens

New York, September 2010

and Scrolls of the Taishō Period, features paintings from the Taishō Era (1912 – 26). While short in duration, the Taishō Period was highly influential and witnessed a remarkable flowering of the arts. It was also a period of great wealth, and all types of art were eagerly sought by new collectors. Visionary young artists were sometimes sponsored by wealthy patrons, who could afford to support the artist while he or she worked on a single painting or work of art for a whole year or longer. The goal of the artists and their sponsors was to exhibit a striking work of art at one of the annual national art exhibitions that had been sponsored by the Japanese government and other organizations since 1907. Artists hoped to make a reputation for excellence through the exhibition, the critical attention, and a possible prize winning of their works at these prestigious venues. An example of such a work which won a prize at the 8th Teiten National Exhibition is the screen entitled Morning Quiet in the current publication (item 7). The catalog also features screens and scrolls of earlier periods; exquisite maki-e gold lacquer boxes; and a selection of Taishō/early Shōwa-period bamboo baskets made for the sadō or kadō, the tea ceremony or ikebana. I hope the viewer will enjoy looking at and reading about the 30 paintings and works of art we selected, spanning four centuries.



1 Kano School 狩野派 Roosters and Chicken in a Bamboo Grove Edo Period (1615 –1868), early 17th C

The moriage consists of round family crests (mon)

H 64 ¾" × W 133 ½"

on a diamond pattern. Interestingly, the gilt and

(164.5 cm × 339 cm) each

chased copper hardware on the screen frame in-

Pair of six-panel folding screens

corporates the same family crest design and can

Ink, colors, gofun, gold and gold leaf on paper

therefore assumed to be the original 17th century hardware. Further use of moriage relief can

From the fourth century onwards, the Chinese de-

be seen in the three-dimensional modeling on the

picted sages in bamboo groves, in seclusion from

cockscombs and on the legs. The overall effect is

the world and in lofty conversation with each


that of luxury, privilege and expense, an effect un-

This tradition later transferred to Korea and Japan,

derlined by the heavy use of costly mineral colors.

where the theme, Chikurin no shichiken 竹林の七賢,

The screens were most likely created for the year of

became one of the traditional expressions of paint-

the rooster by a leading sponsor of the arts, pos-

ers, for example of the Kano school, who painted it

sibly by a member of the aristocracy or a daimyo

widely on scrolls, screens and sliding



In this painting we see the same theme of a gathering in a bamboo grove, yet here we have a play on the genre, with roosters and hens taking the place of learned sages. And instead of lofty conversation, we have hens clucking to one another and to their offspring. While the parody of traditional themes was not unusual—painters such as Harunobu placed courtesans in place of the sages in their versions of the bamboo grove—the depiction of chickens as sages is rare. The paintings also have a seasonal element, as the artist has divided the screen pair into images of spring and autumn. The right half shows the spring with newborn chicks, new bamboo sprouts and flowering Chinese clematis (Tessen 鉄銑, Clematis florida), a plant blooming in late April. In contrast, the left half shows the autumn with the chicks fully grown, the bamboo mature and, instead of clematis, ivy with autumn colors. The artist contrasts spring and fall, the newborn and the adult, beginnings and maturity. The screens have an intricate and finely crafted band along the top with gilt moriage patterns. This moriage was built up with layers of gofun (sea shell powder) and then painted with gold wash, a phenomenon appearing in 17th century screens.3



2 Tosa Mitsuyoshi 土佐光吉 (1539 –1613), attr. Scenes from the Tales of Genji Momoyama Period (1568 –1615), early 17th C

Koremitsu hands him a writing box and brushes.4

H 63 ½" × W 146 ½"

The curved bridge on the screen refers to both

(161.3 cm × 372.3 cm)

scenes, the Uji Bridge and the Sumiyoshi Bridge;

Six-panel folding screen

the red torii gate in front of the bridge refers to

Ink, mineral colors, gofun, silver, gold

the Sumiyoshi Shrine. Bridges with their many po-

and gold leaf on paper

etic allusions became symbols for travel in nature in the literal and visual culture of the Heian and

This important screen displays an elaborate sel-

later period.5

ection of scenes from the eleventh-century novel Tales of Genji. The finely detailed figures inter-

The last two scenes that balance the composition

spersed throughout the composition illustrate

on the bottom left and right corners are, on the

scenes from different chapters of Genji, but are

bottom left, the emperor being presented with

unified by the theme of nature, more specifically,

pheasants taken in a hunt, bringing nature to the

the link between nature and the protagonists of

palace;6 and, on the bottom right, the poignant

the novel. Two keys to the connections are the full

scene from the Yomogiu chapter where Prince

moon on the upper left and the bridge on the

Genji visits his long-lost love, the Safflower Prin-

upper right of the screen.

cess, who suffers from poverty in a run-down mansion. Here Prince Genji is led by his servant Kore-

The full moon on the upper left refers to the ro-

mitsu, who guides him to the dilapidated house

mantic boat scene on a winter night in the Ukifune

through the overgrown garden.7

chapter, seen in the upper center. Here Niou is seated in the boat with Ukifune and, while looking

In all of these scenes, we see how the figures nego-

at the hills bathed in moon light, they pledge

tiate with nature and how nature relates to love,

undying love to each


to imperial offerings, to travel and even to poverty. What at first seems to be a set of non-connected

In the Asagao chapter the moon appears again as

scenes are in fact expertly selected moments in the

Genji and Asagao look out at the garden on a win-

novel that connect by themes from across the pan-

ter night and admire the fallen snow. Genji asks the

els of the screen.

page girls to go out in the garden and roll a snowball, and he and Asagao enjoy the scene bathed in

The screen is attributed to Tosa Mitsuyoshi through


similarities in style, facial features, and golden clouds. The golden clouds are made of two types

The moon connects these two scenes, which also

of gold—gold leaf bordered with gold wash on

share the same season and the nocturnal setting.

gofun—and the features of the faces are superbly

Central to both cases is the joy of love when look-

expressive. Mitsuyoshi and his atelier painted a

ing at nature together, specifically on a winter night.

number of Genji screens during his lifetime and examples by him exist in the Metropolitan Museum

The bridge in the upper right corner refers to the

of Art in New York, the Honolulu Academy of Arts,

Ukifune love boat scene, which takes place close

the Kyoto National Museum and the Idemitsu

to Uji


The bridge is also associated with the

Museum of Art.

excursion to Sumiyoshi Shrine in the Miotsukushi chapter, seen on the right. Waiting inside his carriage, Genji wants to write a love letter and his servant



3 Scenes from the Great Eastern Road Unknown artist Edo Period (1615 –1868), circa 1800

emphasis is clearly on the remarkable castles and

H 49 ¾" × W 117 ½"

mountains—the greatest feats of man and nature.

(126.5 cm × 298.5 cm) each

In contrast, the cities are here presented as an as-

Pair of six-panel folding screens

sembly of simple one-story buildings—even Edo,

Ink, mineral colors, gofun, gold flakes

the capital city.

and gold leaf on paper The road became an important topic in the culture This pair of screens presents the viewer with an ex-

of mid- to late-Edo period Japan. Not only were

citing journey through the imagination, without the

famous artists, such as Utamaro, Hiroshige, and

hardship of actually traveling. We see here in great

Hokusai making print series with connections to

detail the most important road in Japan, the Great

the Tōkaidō Road, but literature and Kabuki drama

Eastern Road Tōkaidō, which connected the old

also became obsessed with the idea of travel. The

and the new capital cities of Japan. Not only are the

comic novel Hizakurige, for example, centers on

cities and sites along the road depicted, but the

the adventures of two protagonists as they travel

artist has also added interesting events, such as pro-

down the Tōkaidō.2 An important multi-volume

cessions of daimyo warlords, street side shops,

publication in 1797, the Tōkaidō meisho zue, be-

and sea travel.

came a source for later artists, such as Hiroshige, who found compositional ideas in the volumes.

The route is not a straight one, but one bending

And of course, the most famous of all these artistic

and turning along the mountains and streams. In

efforts was Hiroshige’s great series of woodblock

effect, the route is recreating travel with all its unex-

prints, the Fifty-Three Stages of the Tōkaidō,

pected twists and turns. As Constantine Vaporis re-

published in 1833 – 34, which came to influence

counts in his classic book on Edo-period travel, the

all efforts afterwards. This pair of screens shows

idea of travel became a nation-wide fad from the

no specific traces of Hiroshige’s work, but relates

mid-Edo period onwards, and people would take

instead to other earlier sources.3

long trips in groups or individually, enjoying the sites along the way.1 This screen was very likely cre-

Interestingly, some of the sites named on small

ated in response to the demand for objects related

labels along the road are not on the Tōkaidō.

to travel, perhaps in commission for a patron who

These sites include mountains and large castles

had traveled the route himself.

(Mount Hiei and Zeze Castle) as well as parts from other views series, such as the Eight Views

From the seventeenth century onwards, Japanese

of Ōmi (Karasaki and Miidera) and the famous

artists created woodblock prints, hand scroll paint-

views of Edo (Shiba Daibutsu).4 It seems that the

ings, screens and books on the topic of travel

names are taken from a conflation of sources:

along the Tōkaidō Road. In their images the artists

from the Tōkaidō, from famous view series, and

provided not only information about the sites, but

from important sites that can be seen from the

also placed the road in the contexts of the famous

road.5 They all have in common the sense of travel

views of Japan, Meisho, that could be seen along

within the imagination, experiencing all the plea-

the way. In this sumptuous pair of screens, we not

sures and serendipitous discoveries of travel while

only get a sense of the long and often arduous

in the comforts of one’s own home.

route of the Tōkaidō, but also see the splendid sites along the way. Artists of the time emphasized different aspects of the road; in this case, the



4 Araki Kampo 荒木寛畆 (1831–1915) Peacock Pair by Cliffs Meiji period (1868 –1912), dated 1907

ous styles and introduced new influences and tech-

H 76 ¾" × W 75 ¾"

niques from the West, and taught a generation of

(195 cm × 192.4 cm)

young artists, becoming an important pioneer of the

Two-panel folding screen

new age of painting in Meiji Japan.

Ink, colors, gold and gold-leaf on silk Remarkably, Kampo had extensive success outside Signature:

of Japan and became one of the most famous

Kampo 寛畆

Japanese artists in the West. He entered works and won numerous prizes at international expositions,


such as Vienna in 1872, Chicago in 1893, Paris in

1) »Seventy-seven year old Kampo« 七十七翁寛畆

1900, St. Louis in 1904, and London in 1910. He

2) »Artist name Tatsuan« 號達庵

was also the first Japanese artist to become a member of the prestigious Royal Society of Arts in

A majestic peacock stands on top of a craggy cliff

London. Inside Japan, he was very active in na-

and surveys the world around him, while his mate

tional exhibitions and won numerous honors.2 He

walks below, in the safety of his alert gaze. The

taught at the Tokyo Art School from 1898 to 1908

painting was made by one of the great artists of

and at other universities as well. The present screen

modernizing Japan at the age of seventy-seven.

stems from the time he was teaching at the Tokyo

Despite his advanced age, we sense the strength

Art School.

of the artist in the dramatic brushstrokes, the clear sense of composition, and the finely delineated techniques. Just like the male peacock, he still very much rules his corner of the world. The sumptuousness and vitality of the peacock are reflected in the rich gold-leaf ground and in the fine details Kampo added with gold wash on top of the ink. He also added light colors to give depth to the plumage of the birds and drew the rocks and the bamboo with an array of textured strokes and ink wash techniques. In all these aspects, the painter goes back to a long tradition of peacock paintings on gold ground, such as those created by the Maruyama and Kishi Schools.1 Kampo was born in Edo and started to work at an early age as apprentice for the Araki workshop, where he showed early promise. He was eventually adopted into the Araki family at the age of twentytwo and became its head painter. At one time he attempted oil paintings, but eventually returned to the Nihonga school style. Kampo specialized in paintings of flowers and birds. He unified the vari-



5 Usumi Kiho ¯ 内海輝邦 (b. 1873) The Raven and the Peacock Taishō Period (1912 – 26), circa 1920

its black feathers covered with powders of lapis

H 69" × W 136 ¼"

lazuli, its legs highlighted in lacquer, and its eyes

(175 cm × 346 cm) each

with gold. The face of the raven is finely modeled

Pair of six-panel folding screens

with masterfully modulated ink wash on its beak,

Ink, mineral colors, gofun, gold, silver,

giving a three-dimensional effect. The heavy use

lacquer and silver leaf on paper

of expensive mineral colors indicates that Usumi made the screen pair for an important occasion,

Signature: Kihō 輝邦, Seal: Hiroaki 廣精

possibly a national art exhibition.

The artist presents the viewer with a remarkable

Usumi Kihō was a skilled painter of great promise.

composition of a raven and a peacock in conversa-

He was born in Matsue in Shimane Prefecture

tion across two large six-panel screens. The posi-

by the Japan Sea in 1873 and managed to gain

tioning of the two birds at first startles through the

acceptance to the highly competitive Tokyo Art

strong contrasts: the smaller jet-black raven on

School, presently the Tokyo University of the Arts,

the right and the large proud peacock with its full

at a key time in its history. The university had been

show of polychrome feathers on the left.

founded a few years earlier and was run by the great artist Hashimoto Gahō 橋本雅邦 (1835 –1908).

What exactly was the intent of the artist in this strik-

Kihō became a student of Gahō1 and learned in

ing juxtaposition? He may have intended to show

the company of a select group of the future great

the animals as an episode from Aesop’s fable, the

artists of Japan. A list of his fellow students at the

story of the crow and the peacock. The narrative,

time reads like a who’s who of the great Taishō and

however, remains unclear: did the covetous crow

Shōwa period artists: Yokoyama Taikan 横山大観,

attempt to steal a feather and dropped it, dis-

Shimomura Kanzan 下村寒山, Hishida Shunsō 菱田

covered by the angry peacock? Or is the peacock

春草, Kawai Gyokudō 川合玉堂, among others.

bragging, showing off its rich display, while the raven is looking on in envy? Although the message

During his years at the Tokyo Art School Kihō cre-

is uncertain, the dramatic dialogue is clear. A key

ated three works that were thought important

aspect of this dialogue is of course the contrast

enough to store at the university museum.2 Upon

between the large colorful bird and the seemingly—

graduation in 1893, Kihō accepted a position at

until examined closer—drab black bird.

the Fukushima Middle School in Fukushima Prefecture, teaching art. Among his colleagues at the

The screen is remarkable for another reason, its

school was the great scholar Tsunoda Ryūsaku 角田

tour-de-force display of materials and techniques.

柳作 (1877 –1964), who eventually became known

Usumi painted the silver-leaf surface with luxuri-

as the "father of Japanese studies" at Columbia Uni-

ous materials, including gold, silver, lacquer and

versity3 During their time there together (Ryūsaku

ground malachite, lapis lazuli and gofun. The

taught at the school 1903 – 8), the two collaborated

peacock is composed with a densely inter-woven

on projects.

texture of feathers imbedded with thick layers of gold and mineral colors, including malachite and

We see traces of Usumi’s activities through the 1910s

lapis lazuli. The bright eye is painted with gold,

and 1920s of the Taishō period, when he moved

the beak with silver, and the head and body are

back to Tokyo and became an established artist in

molded with relief details using gofun. The drab-

the capital city.4 The present work stems from his

looking raven is in fact sumptuously created, with

period of activity in Tokyo.



6 Hirai Baisen 平井楳仙 (1889 –1969) Chinese Landscape with Pagoda Taishō Period (1912 – 26), 1925

portrays. The light blue color used in one spot, on

H 68" × W 74 ¾"

the coat edge of the single Chinese traveler, adds

(173 cm × 189.7 cm)

an exotic touch.

Two-panel folding screen Ink and colors on paper

A number of other examples exist from the artist’s period of intense immersion into Chinese expres-

Signature: Baisen 楳仙

siveness. For example, a pair of six-panel screens

Seal: »Painted by Hirai Baisen« 比羅居白仙画

in the Honolulu Academy of Arts displays the same kind of composition and textual strokes.1 Here, too,

A series of perpendicular cliffs, precipitous gorges

we see a towering pagoda in the distance over ra-

and towering temple pagodas gives this remark-

vines and a precipitous landscape. What differenti-

able landscape painting a sense of peril and exoti-

ates the two works from each other is that the Ho-

cism. The setting is not Japan: this painting stems

nolulu screens are solely expressed in ink, whereas

from Hirai Baisen’s Chinese phase, a period that he

in the present work we see his experiment with col-

entered after his travel to China in 1913. Here is a

ors and a more complex composition.

painting with rough strokes of ink on paper in the old tradition of depicting Chinese scenes, a tradi-

The screen was created in 1925 when Baisen was

tion that goes back to Sesshū (1420 –1506).

preparing a series of screens with ink paintings of Chinese landscapes for the sixth Teiten exhibi-

We see the artist’s great skill in his use of ink. Not

tion of 1925. Two other sets of the screens created

only does he use ink in many modalities, varying

during this burst of energy have recently been

from intense black to faint grey, but he also varies


the wetness of the brush, creating a misty feel to the vegetation, as some sections are vague while

Baisen is a painter of many styles who succeeds in

others are in sharp focus, lending to an atmosphere

surprising at every turn.3 A look at another painting

of misty mountain peaks. We also see a great

by him in this publication item15, (a snow scene

variety in brush patterns, with some brushes rough

of the Kamogawa River dated to 1917) shows how

and hard-bristled; Baisen uses these repeatedly

greatly his style changed over a few years. Constant

to get a sense of wild vegetation on the cliff sides.

is his technical excellence and his fascination with

Another indication of his love for experimentation

various materials and tools: the brushes, the paints,

can be found in the special paper he used for this

and the surfaces. We see him forever experiment-

work: both sides of the screen are painted on a

ing with new ideas. He was clearly an intellectual

single large, custom-made sheet of paper, which

painter at the cutting edge of the twentieth-century

is unusual for this scale of work.

Nihonga movements during his early years.4 The screens are a testament to the genius of Baisen as

Baisen has used colors sparingly with careful

he revisits the iconic masterpieces of the past and

deliberation. To the landscape he added a well-

successfully reworks them into a new vocabulary of

balanced, faint application of red-brown colors.

his own.

These colors impart an autumnal feel to the scene and at the same time create a color palette that is exotic—it is after all not a scene from Japan, but one from a foreign, yet familiar, culture that Baisen



7 Nakatsuka Issan 中塚一杉 (b. 1892) Morning Quiet あさしづ Shōwa Period (1926 – 89), 1927

Issan uses special effects, such as gofun, a white

H 70 ½" × W 90"

powder made from sea shells, which he applied

(179.3 cm × 228.6 cm)

below the paint on the cucumbers to give them

Two-panel folding screen

moriage three-dimensional effects. Throughout the

Ink, colors and gofun on silk

painting, the line is always under control; the dragonfly balanced on the cucumber leaf, for example, is

Signature: Issan ga 一杉画 »Painted by Issan«

drawn in a poetry of ink lines.

Seal: Nakatsuka 中塚 The work is a remarkable achievement for the Exhibited: The 8th Teiten National Exhibition, 1927

young artist and was the first of his to be accepted

Published: Nittenshi 日展史, vol 8, p. 117, nr. 181.

for a national exhibition, the 8th Teiten Exhibition in Shōwa 2 1927, shown under the title あさしづ or

The artist Issan presents us with an intimate scene

Morning Quiet and illustrated in the accompany-

of a small vegetable garden in the early morning

ing catalog.1 Born in 1892, Issan studied under two

quiet. It is early morning in summer, the lower part

giants in the Kyoto art world of the time: Takeuchi

of the painting still dark and soft light and blue

Seihō 竹内栖鳳 (1864 –1942) and Nishimura Goun

sky starting to appear above.

西村五雲 (1877 –1938).2 After his apprenticeship, he settled in the Shimogamo area of Kyoto and ex-

We see a number of plants and vegetables in a

hibited at a number of prestigious national exhibi-

composition of compressed rows. In the front are

tions: he entered works in five Teiten exhibitions,

flowering garden balsam (Hōsenka 鳳仙花) and

three Shin-Bunten exhibitions, one Nitten exhibition,

three pepper plants (Shishitōgarashi 獅子唐辛子).

among others.3 The last trace we have of the painter

In the next row are four eggplants (Nasu 茄子),

is his entry in the ninth Nitten exhibition of 1953.

followed by a row of cucumber plants (Kyūri 胡瓜). In the far background are the ink outlines of young

Interestingly, Issan must have been fond of the veg-

bamboo plants. The various plants with their differ-

etable garden theme, as he returned to it ten years

ent colors, leaves, fruits and flowers interweave on

later in a work labeled »Vegetable Garden in Early

the painting surface, creating a densely interrelated

Autumn« 菜園初秋 for his entry into the first Shin-

idyllic vision. A hint of humor can be seen with the

Bunten exhibition of 1937. The famous cultural figure

patch of weeds in the front right and with the morn-

Oguma Hideo 小熊秀雄 (1901– 40) saw this work

ing glory on the far right which comes out to greet

at the exhibition and wrote the following praise

the artist’s signature.

about Issan’s screen:4 »An outstanding characteristic of present-day Nihonga painting is the ability to

Looking closer, one notices four insects hidden

draw an inherently complex image of a vegetable

among the leaves: a praying mantis, a dragonfly

garden clearly without any confusion.« The skill

and two grasshoppers. The artist also chose to

that was apparent in Issan’s later work of 1937 is

show natural decay in the work: many leaves are

certainly also clear in this superb screen that Issan

insect-bitten, and a fallen-down cucumber and sev-

painted ten years earlier.

eral leaves are in various stages of decomposition. This undertone of decay and death is contrasted by the vitality of the strong colors of eggplants and their leaves.



8 Nakatsuka Issan 中塚一杉 (b. 1892) Flowering Yamabuki Shōwa Period (1926 – 89), circa 1930

Much time, expertise and expense went into creating

H 78 ¼" × W 82"

this work, and judging from its over-sized format, it

(199 cm × 208 cm)

was most likely a shuppin-saku, made to be exhibit-

Two-panel folding screen

ed at one of the major art exhibitions of the time. In

Ink, colors and gofun on silk

the complex composition we see exquisite details in the fine lines on the flowers and bamboo fence,

Signature: Issan saku 一杉 作 »Made by Issan«

and in the raised moriage areas on the yellow rose,

Seal: Nakatsuka 中塚

the peony flowers, and the cherry blossoms, which were created with gofun or seashell powder. The

As with the other screen by Issan in the present

bark of the cherry tree is especially remarkable for

catalog, the previous entry entitled »Morning

its three-dimensional feel and realistic moriage tex-

Quiet«, we see here a close observation of nature

ture. The mounts are custom-made for the screen,

within an intimate garden setting.

using luxurious shibuichi 1 metal with a perforated sukashi design of cherry petals.

The artist presents the viewer with a scene from spring, from a warm sunny day in the second half

Issan studied under two of the greatest draftsmen in

of April. Dominating the scene over most of the

the history of the modern Kyoto art world: Takeuchi

painted surface is a Japanese Yellow Rose (Yama-

Seihō 竹内栖鳳 (1864 –1942) and Nishimura Goun

buki 山吹 Kerria japonica) which flowers in majestic

西村五雲 (1877 –1938). After his studies he settled

beauty by an old bamboo fence. Meanwhile to the

in Kyoto as an independent artist and submitted reg-

right a white Japanese peony (Yama Shakuyaku

ularly to the important national exhibitions over the

山芍薬 Paeonia japonica) blooms and below it,

next decades, the last being the Nitten in 1953.2

through a crack in the fence, we see another white flowering plant. In the upper corners is a flowering maple tree. Standing above the central Yamabuki is a tall cherry tree, now past its point of glory with its few remaining petals and many new leaves. On the bottom left from the ground the artist has depicted a winding ivy climbing up the broken fence. In the middle of this maze of blossoms and leaves sits a solitary Lidth’s Jay (Ruri Kakesu 瑠璃懸巣 Garrulus lidthi), its blue feathers forming a focal point and contrast to the yellows and greens of the painting. As with Issan’s other work »Morning Quiet«, we see here a tension between youth and decay, between the vibrant yellow colors of the brilliant Yamabuki on the one hand and the deteriorating, stained old bamboo fence on the other. The fallen petals and wilting leaves on the ground also serve as a contrast to the blooming Yamabuki above.



9 So ¯ju 双樹 (ac. Taishō Period) Sea Gulls by the Seashore Taishō Period (1912 – 26), 1920s

screen dates from the innovative period of the

H 69 ¼" × W 68 ¾"

early 1920s. The Taishō period was noted for a

(175.8 cm × 174.8 cm)

great flowering of the arts, with a proliferation of

Two-panel folding screen

art schools and the education of great many skilled

Ink, colors, gofun and silver on paper.

students. Unfortunately for them (and for us) the period was also known for its great disasters: the

Signature: Sōju 双樹

Kantō Earthquake of 1923, the global economic

Seal:Sō 双

crash of 1929 and the resulting depression that changed the future for a number of promising

In this striking composition, we see two seagulls

artists in a decidedly negative way, sometimes with

on the seashore, seemingly overwhelmed by the

catastrophic effect.1 Much research remains to be

incoming waves. The painting is a fascinating study

done about artists of this period, including the iden-

of movement and patterns that spread across its

tity and biography of the artist who created this



Not only is the screen remarkable for its daring composition, but also for its display of technical ability. For one thing, this painting is a masterpiece in the use of gofun, or seashell powder. Although gofun has been used by Japanese artists for centuries, its use rarely reaches the level of technical perfection seen in this screen. We can see extensive use of gofun on the waves and on the bodies of the gulls, which thereby achieve a tactile threedimensional feel. Detailed use of the material can be seen on the seagull at the back, for example, where a wave of white gofun faintly washes over its left foot. Another technical element is the sophisticated use of sprinkled silver flakes, which can be seen not only on the beach, simulating the wet sand sparkling in the sunlight, but also under the layers of gofunwaves, where it mimics reflecting sand under water. The artist has also darkened the rim of sand directly bordering the incoming waves, cleverly giving an impression of water-logged sand. As for the artist, research still remains to be done. Little is known, beyond the evidence of the screen itself. Judging from the style, we know that it must have been a Nihonga artist with great talent. And judging from similar objects, we can say that the




10 Hakuin Ekaku 白隠慧鶴 (1685 –1768) The Second Patriarch Standing in the Snow Edo period (1615 –1868), circa 1725

Box inscription, outer:

H 32 ¼" × W 11¼" (incl. mounting 65" × 15 ¾")

»True (Ink) Traces of Zen Master Hakuin: The

(82 cm × 28.3 cm, 165 cm × 40 cm)

Second Zen Patriarch« 白隠禅師真蹟二祖

Hanging scroll, ink on paper Box inscription, inner: Inscription:

»Certified by the old monk Sōkaku, presently at


the Shōin[ji] Temple, dated on an auspicious day


in the 2nd month of 1960«



呵口諸佛無上少道 曠却難行難忍

Box inscriptions, end:


»Hakuin: Niso inscription, apprentice monk in


snow. Bokubi« 白隠二祖賛 雪中雲水 墨美


»Hakuin Zen Monk: painting and inscription of


Dharma Master Niso« 白隠禅師 二祖大師画賛

為向上禅認無念無心 為宗票視瞎癡漢

Oval seal mark: »Shinwa’an Collection« seal

將喜耶將悲耶嗟 Published in: Translation:

Morita, Shiryū 森田子龍, ed. Bokubi Tokushū:

A long time ago, the Second Patriarch stood in a

Hakuin bokuseki 墨美特集―白隠墨蹟.Kyoto:

garden on a cold night until the snow came up to

Bokubisha 墨美社, 1985, plate 263.

his waist. The First Patriarch saw this and scolded

Tanaka Daisaburō 田中大三郎, ed. Hakuin zenshi

him: »It's wasteful for you to approach the marvel-

bokusekishu 白隠禅師墨蹟集. Tokyo: Rokugei

ous ways of the Buddhas with worthless efforts.

Shobō 六芸書房, 2006, plate 47

Can you endure that which cannot be endured, and practice that which cannot be practiced? How can

Hakuin here represents the Second Patriarch of Zen

you hope to know true religion with a shallow heart

Buddhism, Eka 慧可 (Chinese: Huike; 487 – 593), as

and an arrogant mind?«

he is standing out in the snow, patiently hoping for

The Second Patriarch then cut off his left arm. See-

the First Patriarch, the great Bodhdharma (Japanese:

ing this, Bodhidharma immediately allowed Huike

Daruma), to accept him as a student. We see the

access to peaceful tranquility, and let him practice

snow piling up on the monk’s hat and on the pines

an advanced level of Zen. Allowing freedom from

in the background and feel the hardship of the monk

ideas and feelings, the Second Patriarch practiced

hoping for approval from the stern Indian monk,

the true nature of religion and came to understand

sitting in meditation in the Shaolin Temple 少林寺.

the blind and the stupid. On one hand, rejoice! On the other, how sad!

According to the records, Eka was born close to Luoyang 洛陽 and practiced religions under a


number of masters before coming to the snowy

1) Hakuin 白隠

garden at age forty. The famous story alluded to in

2) Ekaku 慧鶴

Hakuin’s inscription describes how the monk was

3) Kokan’i 顧鑑意

finally able to receive Bodhidharma’s approval by cutting off his left hand and presenting this as a


tribute to the older monk. After several years of

after the earliest period of painting.5 This makes

hard practice, Eka received the Dharma transmis-

the Second Patriarch paintings rare, as Hakuin

sion from Bodhidharma. During the lifetime of

claimed to have burned all his earlier paintings.

Eka, Buddhism suffered under persecutions in China. Nonetheless, he is recorded as having preached

Furthermore, it could well be significant that Hakuin

for over forty years and coming to rest at the high

only painted the Second patriarch painting in his

age of 107.

younger days, at a time when he was still struggling with the principles of Zen Buddhism. At times he

The earliest extant biographies of Zen Patriarchs is

surely must have felt like the Second Patriarch himself.

the Biographies of Eminent Monks (519) (高僧傳;

And as he writes in his inscription (»On one hand,

Japanese: Kōsōden; Chinese: Gaoseng zhuan) and

rejoice! On the other, how sad!«), Hakuin seems not

its sequel, Further Biographies of Eminent Monks

entirely at ease with the message of extreme self-

(続高僧傳; Japanese: Zoku Kōsōden; Chinese: Xu

mutilation that the story valorizes. Perhaps he was

gaoseng zhuan), written in 645 by Daoxuan (道宣;

able to separate himself from the pressing mes-

596 – 667). For the Japanese monks, however, the

sage of the story of the arm-sacrificing monk as he

fourteenth-century compilation Transmission of

got older and more settled into Zen practice.

the Lamp (伝灯録; Dentōroku), by Keizan Jokin (1268 –1325), a collection of 53 enlightenment sto-

The painting is also of interest in the way it shows

ries based on the traditional legendary accounts of

Hakuin, the painter, working with shapes. Looking

the Zen transmission between successive masters

at the composition, one can see a carefully orches-

and disciples, became very influential.1 Although

trated semi-circle of triangular shapes, starting

the stories are semi-legendary, they came to take

with the monk’s hat in front and repeating with pine

on real importance for the early modern Japanese

trees behind. The receding line of similar shapes

monks, such as


Although Hakuin’s inscrip-

works to anchor the monk firmly into the composi-

tion quotes sections of the Transmission of the Lamp,

tion of this painting and further emphasizes the

there are sections that do not appear there or in

key point of the story: the permanence, duration,

other known texts. As all of Hakuin’s Second Patri-

and perseverance of the monk as he stands root-

arch paintings have variations in the text, it seems

ed to the garden ground over night while the snow

safe to say that Hakuin worked from memory and

piles up around him. It is a fine example of how

added or amended sections as he saw fit.

a painting’s composition reinforces its motif. It also reminds us that the often haphazard-looking ap-

Many portraits of Zen patriarchs by Hakuin exist,

pearance of Hakuin paintings might well be any-

and he is famous for his images of the Bodhidharma

thing but spontaneous: the compositions are like-

and of the Kannon, which comprise the largest

ly the result of much consideration of shapes and

group of extant Hakuin paintings. There are, howev-

painterly ideas.

er, very few paintings of the Second



cording to the great Hakuin scholar Takeuchi Naoji

The painting is housed in a kiri box that was certi-

竹内尚次, the portraits of the Second Patriarch are

fied and inscribed in February 1960 by the Hakuin

important as a representation of Hakuin’s earliest

authority Tsūzan Sōkaku (1891–1974), the seven-

extant paintings—he suggests that a painting similar

teenth abbot of Hakuin’s old temple, the Shōinji

to the present work was brushed by Hakuin in his

Temple in Hara.

thirty-fifth year.4 Moreover, Takeuchi provides no examples of Second Patriarch paintings brushed


11 Hakuin Ekaku 白隠慧鶴 (1685 –1768) Tenjin Traveling to China Edo period (1615 –1868), circa 1760

As a god, Michizane took on the function of the

H 15 ¾" × W 5 ½" (incl. mounting 41¼" × 8 ¼")

God of Learning and received the blossoming

(39.9 cm × 13.8 cm, 104.5 cm × 21 cm)

plum flower as his symbol. Hakuin painted many

Hanging scroll, ink on paper

images of Michizane and seems to have been fond of this gentle figure of learning and culture.2


It seems fitting that the God of Learning is here drawn entirely in characters—in the so called mojie


文字絵 »character painting« technique.3

袖にもちたる梅にても知れ The inscription is from a 13th century Japanese text Even if you cannot tell

in which the spirit of Michizane flies across time

From the Chinese robes he wears

and space and actively interacts with leading Bud-

You must know that it is him

dhist monks in Japan and China, more than 300

From the plum blossoms

years after his death.4 In this legend, he first ap-

He holds in his sleeves

pears in 1241 in the dream of a Kyushu merchant and asks for a number of ceremonies in his honor.

Figure composed of characters:

Despite valiant attempts by the rich merchant, they fail to satisfy Michizane,who decides to make


an appearance before the Tofukuji Temple abbot Enni Benen 円爾弁円 (1202 – 80) in Kyoto and ask

Hail to Tenjin, God of the Tenman Shrine

to become his student. Enni instructs Michizane to go instead to China and to seek guidance from the great monk Wuzhun Shifan 無準師範(1178 –249),


who was Enni’s own master. Michizane follows the Hakuin 白隠

advice and travels to China in a single night to

Ekaku 慧鶴

appear before the Chinese monk and the two then

Kokan’e 顧鑑夷

hold a conversation, which includes an exchange of poetry. This journey by Michizane to China

This whimsical ink painting by Hakuin is of Suga-

forms the title of this painting. A poem uttered by

wara Michizane 菅原道真 (845 – 903), a historical

Michizane is the one that Hakuin inscribed above

figure about whom many legends have been cre-

the painting. During the conversation, the Chinese

ated. Michizane was an aristocrat and courtier at

monk gives Michizane a Chinese robe as a sign of

the imperial palace in Kyoto and became a lead-

enlightenment, a robe that Michizane takes back

ing scholar and poet of his generation. After being

with him to Japan. Hakuin here depicts Michizane

falsely accused by a political rival, he was exiled

with the Chinese robe that he has just received

to Dazaifu in Kyushu, where he died in great sorrow.

from Wuzhun Shifan.

The legends have him come back later to the capital city as a malevolent ghost and cause great

The painting is interesting on a number of points,

havoc until the Kitano Tenmangū Shrine was built

as it represents interactions between religions

in his honor. Eventually his court titles and honors

and cultures, between images and words. The

were restored and he was deified as a Shinto god

Michizane painting can be seen as a symbolic

by the Heian leaders in an attempt to calm his

interaction between China and Japan (in people,




in clothing, in travel, and in text) and between

religions (a Shinto god interacting with Buddhist leaders and receiving enlightenment). We also see the creative interaction between words and images, as the clothing of Michizane is composed of individual characters, forming the words »Hail to Tenjin, God of the Tenman Shrine.« The characters are not written in order, but instead randomly follow the contours of Michizane’s clothing and body. The artist is mischievously playing a game with the viewer and challenging him to solve the reading of the visual puzzle. We see Hakuin in this and other similar paintings not as a strict promoter of his own sect, but rather as a teacher who understands and appreciates differences—as someone who reaches across divides between cultures, religions and traditions.


12 Sengai Gibon 仙厓義梵 (1750 –1837) The Hakata Top Crossing a String Edo period (1615 –1868), circa 1820

street performer, as he tries to gather a crowd (see

H 14 ¼" × W 21½" (incl. mounting 49 ½" × 24 ¾")

inscription). Of course, Sengai provides a serious

(36.3 cm × 54.7 cm, 126 cm × 62.6 cm)

edge to his joke: just as a slight movement to the

Hanging scroll, ink on silk

hand can make the difference between the top arriving (good luck) and the top flying away (bad luck),

Seal on painting: Sengai 仙厓

our lives and fortunes are also easily influenced

Painting inscription: Ladies and gentlemen, if you

by outside events. That is why we need to place our

are looking for wealth and fortune, then look at the

faith in permanent, immovable things, such as the

spinning top from Hakata, actually crossing a string.


Careful, careful! Look here, if you lower the string then it will come spinning, spinning toward you. If

Sengai made a number of paintings of street per-

you raise it a little, then it will go spinning away, all

formers in order to illustrate his allegories.3 He

the way to the next town. So be careful of how you

was clearly interested in the life of the commoners

hold your string. Why don’t you try?

around him and saw the humor in daily life as an effective way to make his serious points about life,

東西々々福徳を願ふ / なら博多古まの / 糸渡りアレ々々

religion and fate to the people who visited his

手元を / さくれハこちらへ / ころ々々ころんてこさる /

temple. The fact that this painting is done on silk,

手元を少高むれハ / 向ふ町へさけて行 / 手元におき

a rare material for Sengai, indicates that it was

を付られませ / ヨウ々々

made not for a common visitor but for an important person. For Sengai the mixture of elite and com-

Box, outer inscription, top: »Brushed by the Monk

mon was entirely in character—in his paintings he

Sengai. Painting with Inscription of the Hakata Top

aimed at the common human condition of all, re-

Crossing a String« Hakata koma ito watari no gasan:

gardless of social status.4

Sengai oshō hitsu 博多古満糸渡りの画賛

仙厓和尚筆 1

Box, inner inscription:

Other examples of the spinning top performer are

»Title inscribed by the 70-year old Tōkō«

known. One example with a similar inscription is in

shichijū-ō Tōkō dai shirusu 七十翁韜光題署

the Idemitsu Collection5, a work that toured Europe in one of the pioneering Edo-period Zen painting

We see here a strikingly humorous ink painting by

exhibitions in 1964.6 Other examples show similar

Sengai, one of the great Edo period Zen Buddhist

compositions, yet never exactly the same inscription

artists.2 Sengai depicts a street performer who bal-

and Sengai was apparently happy to keep chang-

ances a spinning top for an audience. The performer,

ing the wording of his message.7

the God of Luck Daikoku in disguise, balances the top on a string which is tied to bales of rice—a refer-

The box is inscribed and authenticated by the Zen

ence to wealth in a time when wealth was generally

Buddhist abbot Tōkō Genjō. After a longer time of

measured in number of rice bales. There is also a

inactivity, Sengai’s old temple, the Shōfukuji 聖福寺,

large bag under the top, referring to the riches that

was revitalized by Tōkō. He was also active as a col-

may be available with luck.

lector of Sengai paintings. He became known as the leading connoisseur of Sengai, and scrolls with

The joke here is how the important matter of fortune

his inscriptions are eagerly sought after by Sengai

in life can be reduced to a spinning top plied by a


street performer. The strangeness of the situation is further reinforced by the colloquial banter of the


13 Kishi Cho ¯zen 岸長善 (fl. 1st half of 19th century) Fire in Edo Edo period (1615 –1868), circa 1845

on the fire. The fire and great clouds of smoke can

H 50 ¾" × W 23 ¾" (incl. mounting 89 ¼" × 29")

be seen in the center, in the direction of Aoyama

(128.8 cm × 60.1 cm, 227 cm × 73.7 cm)

and the southwestern part of Edo.2

Hanging scroll, ink and light colors on paper A number of Japanese paintings, for example emaTop seal: Kishi 岸

kimono narrative hand scrolls, woodblock prints,

Bottom seal: Chōzen 長善

books or paintings, show depictions of fire—and

Box inscription: »Shadow painting of a conflagra-

fire was also a major topic in literature and drama.

tion; night scene of Edo« 影絵火災 江戸夜景

Urban legends, such as the one about Yaoya no Oshichi setting Edo afire to meet her beloved

During the Edo period, Edo became so famous for

monk, became one of many stories around which

its frequent fires (and fights) that it became popular

Kabuki and Bunraku plays were created. A whole

to say that: »Fire and Fistfights are the Flowers of

culture of fire and firefighters developed in Edo

Edo«, 火事と喧嘩は江戸の花

and much attention was given to the legend and material culture of fire. It is not surprising that fire

With frequent earthquakes and architecture of wood

should capture the imagination of so many, when

and paper, fires were major events in the life of any

so much was at stake, even the lives of the citizens.

early modern Japanese city. None as much as Edo, however, whose history is punctuated with major

Among the large groups of people gathering in

fires that razed large parts of the city, no less than

shadows are members of different professions

49 major fires during the Edo


and social groups. The largest of these are the fire fighters. They hold the tools of their profession—

In this rare and important painting we stand witness

banners, pikes and ladders—and are directed by

to another major fire in its early stages. What at first

city ward officials (machi bugyō) on horses with

appears to be a painting of the city at dawn is in fact

lanterns. Through this crowd scene, we can see how

a night scene with a fire in the distance. Upon see-

they have gathered, coming out of various build-

ing the running figures and riders on horses head-

ings and meeting in different groups, each with

ing toward the fire, the viewer starts to understand

distinct banners. The firefighters were divided by

the setting. The groups of firefighters and other citi-

name and area and were fiercely loyal to their

zens scurry about with lanterns in the darkness, some

group, working independently, sometimes in con-

clearly worried and yet others largely unconcerned

flict with other groups.3

with the approaching fire. The drama of the fire and the firefighters heightThe painter of this scene was very careful with de-

ens upon coming closer to the fire. We see how the

tails: we are in the center of the city with the Edo

groups of firefighters with lanterns crowd across

Bridge to the middle-right edge of the painting.

the Edo Bridge and onto the other shore. Further

Further to the right, off the painting surface, is Nihon

on, we see how they have climbed up on the roofs

Bridge and the area with the merchant warehouses

of the houses right next to the fire, busily disman-

of Edo. Three of these large warehouses can be seen

tling houses and their tile roofs. The fires of Edo

to the left of the bridge, facing the river. From the

were not fought with water; rather, houses around

foreground to the far distance we see a multitude

the blaze were razed, creating natural fire barriers.

of fire towers with people on top, keeping an eye


The artist was clearly interested in the inner networks

tions, including early woodblock prints by Torii

of the city and delighted in his ability to depict as

Kiyonaga (1799), Dutch shadow prints by Jippensha

much information as possible through shadows.

Ikku (1810), parlor game prints of Hiroshige from

This he does in a remarkably complex way. We see

1842, and death portraits by Shibata Zeshin (1867).7

the different professions: geisha (elaborate hair decorations), samurai (two swords), blind masseurs,

The artist Kishi Chōzen is presently unidentified, but

itinerant monks, porters, prostitutes, palanquin

this may be due to a number of factors, including

carriers, travelers, guides, merchants, waitresses

the possible need for anonymity in describing with

and even two dogs. The lanterns are likewise

great detail a scene that led to great destruction.

differentiated, with the marks of daimyo, temples,

Possible candidates are lesser-known members of

firefighter groups, restaurants, and food vendors.

the Kishi painting school, or a talented monk affiliated with the temple Chōzenji 長善寺 8 in Edo. An-

The artist seems to have had a soft spot for eating

other possibility is Chisen Daigu 智仙大愚 (ac. mid

establishments, as we see them in grand detail,

19th century), a poet in the Yanaka 谷中 district of

from a fine two-storied restaurant in the middle

Edo. He was active in the cultural circles of Edo in

(the Iroha いろは establishment) to a ramen noodle

the mid-nineteenth century and went by the name

shop and other eating stalls in the center. Restau-

of Chōzen 長善.9 In any case, the artist certainly had

rants were at the time not only places to eat, but

great talent and familiarity with the organizations

were also places to gather for entertainment or other

within the city, especially that of its firefighters: the

cultural activities, such as poetry groups or sales

details are remarkable, and the skill undeniable.

of art, and they frequently became the subject

We also get an indication of how a later owner of

matter for paintings or prints.4 This painting shows

the painting placed great value on this rare painting

an unusual example of a high-class restaurant in

by mounting the painting in rare imported sten-

full operation against the approaching inferno on

ciled cotton textile that was likely brought to Japan

the horizon.5

by Dutch traders in Dejima.

Another aspect of Edo food culture can be seen in the booths of soba sellers in the center and the very bottom of the painting. Both of the soba sellers are labeled Nihachi 二八 and are thus the same establishment. The »Nihachi« also refers to a special kind of soba (called the Nihachi) that was introduced in 1716 and became enormously popular in Edo during the mid- and late Edo period.6 The soba was made on the spot and served hot, in fact what we can see happening in the painting. The prodigious amount of information conveyed by shadows reflects a strong interest in the tradition of shadow pictures. These types of shadow paintings, or kage-e 影絵 became popular during the 18th and 19th centuries and appear in a number of permuta-


14 Mochizuki Gyokusen 望月玉泉 (1834 –1913) Waterfall Meiji Period (1868 –1912), circa 1900

Gyokusen’s painting reflects a clear interest in re-

H 65 ½" × W 22 ½" (incl. mounting 92 ¾" × 28 ¼")

alism. We also see his interest in earlier Japanese

(166.3 cm × 56.4 cm, 235.5 cm × 71.8 cm)

paintings as his work follows a tradition of monu-

Hanging scroll, ink and silver on silk

mental waterfalls by Maruyama Ōkyo.1 The intent here was to create the feeling of a real waterfall,

Signature: »painted by Gyokusen« 玉泉写

which, when hanging in the tokonoma alcove, ap-

Seal: Shiseikan 資清館

pears to come crashing down, the four walls of

A thunderous waterfall crashes down onto rocks

ing down onto the tatami floor. Just as in the earlier

in this masterful display of natural forces. An ency-

versions by Ōkyo, Gyokusen emphasizes this surre-

clopedic array of ink techniques come together

al scene in a small room by the oversized format

to create a powerful, yet poetic evocation of a mas-

of the painting, almost 8 feet in length.2

the small room now sheer cliffs and the water rush-

sive waterfall in action. Through the mist, spray and streams, we see here all the permutations of

Gyokusen was born in Kyoto and became the fourth

a waterfall in one great image.

generation Mochizuki painter, after taking over from his father Gyokusen 望月玉川 (and eventually

Gyokusen uses the tarashikomi technique of drip-

handing it on to his own son Muchizuki Gyokkei

ping ink into wet ink, creating a mottled effect on

望月玉渓). Taught by his father, he took over the

the rocks. He sprays tiny ink droplets on the silk

family workshop and became the appointed court

surface and paints water splashes to portray the

painter for the imperial house. He became a lead-

violent energy of water crashing onto sheer rock.

ing figure of the Meiji-period Kyoto art scene, and

His use of fine silver droplets to simulate glistening

together with Kōno Bairei 幸野梅嶺 he founded the

water mist in the sunlight is rare and striking. By

Kyoto Prefectural Art School 京都府画学校 in 1878.

gradually shrouding details in mist as one goes

He was active in foreign exhibitions and won the

down the waterfall, the artist has generated a clear

Bronze Medal at the International Paris Exposition

contrast between the darkly-modulated and clear

in 1889. In his old age, he received numerous

details at the top of the paining and the misty grays

national prizes and honors and retained his close

a the bottom of the fall, heightening the narrative

connection to the imperial house.3

of a waterfall in action.


15 Hirai Baisen 平井楳仙 (1889 –1969) The Snow of Kamogawa River 鴨川の雪 Taishō Period (1912 – 26), dated 1917

the late Taishō period, using similar techniques.3

H 50" × W 16 ½" (incl. mounting 85" × 22")

Clearly the artist had no difficulties in adjusting his

(126.7 cm × 41.9 cm, 216 cm × 55.8 cm)

compositions to different scales and formats.

Hanging scroll, ink, colors and gofun on silk The artist was known for his remarkable changes in Painting signature: »Painted by Baisen« 楳仙画

style and subject matter. His return from a trip to

Painting seal: Baisen 楳仙

China in 1913 inaugurated a period during which he

Box inscription, top:

created ink landscape paintings of Chinese moun-

»The Snow of Kamogawa River« 鴨川の雪

tains and pagodas.4 Later yet, his attention returned

Box inscription, inside:

to Japan and he went into a period of brilliant rec-

»Painted by Baisen on a spring day in 1917.

reations of his hometown, Kyoto. Not only did his

Titled by the artist himself«丁巳春日作楳仙自題

theme and subject matter change, but so did his

Seal: Baisen 楳仙

techniques and materials used. In place of ink and

Box inscription, end:

paper, he later used silk and heavy Nihonga-style

»By the brush of Baisen. Painting of Snow and Ka-

pigments of mineral colors and gofun, a powder

mogawa River. Matsubara Miyagawa 7-chō. Colors

derived from seashells.

on silk. Matched box« 松原宮川七丁 楳仙筆 鴨川雪の図 着色絹本 

Baisen was particularly adapt in the use of gofun,

共箱 七丁

which, because of its thick and inflexible consistancy, can be difficult to use and tends to flake off.

It is a winter day with falling snow, the sky darken-

For this painting, Baisen prepared layers of gofun

ing in the late afternoon. We see a footbridge, the

on the front as well as on the back of the silk. Using

Matsubara Bridge, crossing the Kamogawa Riv-

the white material on both sides of the silk5 made

er in Kyoto, to the south of Shijō Street.1 Outlined

it possible to show various shades of white and

against the sky are the Higashiyama mountains on

impart a sense of depth to the colors. It also makes

the eastern side of Kyoto. On the far side of the river

the gofun snowflakes stand out more against

are the teahouses of the Gion entertainment dis-

the fine ink wash and gives a feel of looking at a

trict. The two travelers on the footbridge are head-

landscape through falling snow.6

ing toward Gion, perhaps customers preparing to visit a favorite establishment or perhaps the geisha

Baisen was a leading painter of the twentieth-cen-

getting ready for that evening’s performance.

tury Nihonga movements during Taishō to early Shōwa periods.7 An art critic and intellectual, he

The site, the Kamogawa River and the teahouses

was well aware of the history and traditions of

along its banks, has long been one of the famous

Japanese art, as can be seen in this painting, which

sights of Kyoto. This was the case in the 16th/17th

shows references to a line of prior images, from

century Rakuchū rakugaizu screens and was still

the early Rakuchū rakugaizu screens8 to the 19th

the case in the time of Hirai Baisen. Further views

century landscape prints by Hiroshige to early

of the area are included in the three albums that

20th century prints by the Shin hanga artists. The

Baisen composed for the tenth Bunten Exhibition

painting represents a brilliant reworking of past

in 1916, depicting thirty different views of Kyoto,

traditions and an evocative new depiction of one

entitled Miyako


Interestingly, Baisen also

painted the Higashiyama mountains of the area on a pair of monumental landscape screens during


of Kyoto’s famous sights.

16 Watanabe Sho ¯tei 渡辺省亭 (1851–1918) New Year with Small Pines and a Pair of Cranes 正月小松と雙鶴 Meiji period (1868 –1912), circa 1910

Shōtei, one of the greatest animal painters of the

H 42 ½" × W 15 ¾" (incl. mounting 75 ½" × 20 ¾")

Meiji period, the painting becomes much more

(108 cm × 39.9 cm, 192 cm × 52.6 cm)

than a New Year’s symbol. For one thing, Shōtei

Hanging scroll, ink, color and lacquer on silk

had a clear interest in portraying animals with real personalities. The eye of the upper bird, painted

Inscription: Shōtei 省亭

with ink and black lacquer, is particularly life-like

Seal: Shōtei 省亭

and captivating. Through the poses of the birds,

Box top: »New Year: Small Pines and Crane Pair,

we also get a sense of cranes with different person-

Painted by Shōtei.« 正月小松と雙鶴 省亭画

alities: one protecting, the other cowering in the

Box end: »Pair of cranes by the brush of Shōtei,

shadow of the larger bird.

(First) Month.« 雙鶴省亭筆[正]月 Further, the combination of rough brush strokes at Crane paintings have a venerable tradition in Japan

the tail feathers with fine brush strokes and details

and there are numerous well-known works on the

at the heads and beaks creates interest and vitality


to the scene.

In Japan the combination of cranes with

young pines and the rising sun became a symbol for the New Year and displaying such images at

Shōtei was one of the most colorful characters in

homes and institutions became a favorite way to

the art scene of the Meiji period and became a real

welcome the new


celebrity of his time.3 He was the first Japanese student to study in Europe and learned, in 1878 – 81,

New Year was clearly also the intended message

the Western painting methods of his time. He won

in this painting, judging from the title that the artist

prizes in numerous Western exhibitions—such as in

wrote on the tomobako box. Yet, in the hands of

Paris in 1878, Amsterdam in 1883, and Chicago in 1893—and became one of the best-known Japanese artists in the West. He also published numerous books on paintings, collaborated on cloisonné designs, and courted controversy, for example, by daring to publish a nude study in the journal Kokumin no tomo in 1889. The level to which he was esteemed by others—and himself—can be gauged by the striking ichimonji mounting of this hanging scroll: the design is his own and displays a woven pattern with Shōtei’s own seals, highlighted in silver and gold threads. Shōtei was clearly an artist not afraid to go against the conventions nor afraid of standing out in crowd. And as we see in this superb bird study, he had ample reasons to be justifiably proud of his skills.


17 Tojima Mitsuzane 戸島光孚 (fl. 1906 – 40) Set of Three Lacquer Paintings with Carps Shōwa Period (1926 – 89), dated 1929

his composition: »Lacquer paintings, set of three.

H 52 ¼" × W 16 ¼" (incl. mounting 83 ¼" × 21¾")

Center: Waterfall-Climbing Carp. Left and right:

(132.5 cm × 41.5 cm, 211.5 cm × 55.2 cm) each

Playing Carps.« This takes on an extra meaning in

Set of 3 hanging scrolls

spoken Japanese, as »playing carp« (yūri 遊鯉),

Lacquer, light color and ink on silk

can also be read »asobu koi« or »asobi koi«, the same pronunciation as »come, let’s play!« In other

Inscription on central painting:

words, the stern injunction to persevere and to

»Lacquer painting by Mitsuzane of Kyoto«

sacrifice is here undercut with calls for enjoyment.

平安光孚漆画 Inscription on outer paintings:

The artist, Tojima Mitsuzane (also known as Kōami)

»Lacquer painting by Mitsuzane« 光孚漆画.

was a remarkable Kyoto lacquer artist who active-

Seal on all three paintings: Mitsuzane 光孚

ly took part in the changing cultural world of his

Box, outer inscription:

time.2 He was the founding editor of the Shikkikai,

»Lacquer paintings, set of three: center, waterfall-

an influential journal devoted to developments in

ascending carp; left and right, playing carp«

the lacquer world, and his interest in new ideas and

漆画 中瀑布登鯉 右左遊鯉之図 三幅対

reinterpretations of lacquer traditions can clearly

Box, inner inscription: »Mitsuzane of Kyoto painted

be seen in the way he works as a cross-over artist in

this, dated June of the year corresponding to 1929

this painting. He uses his lacquer techniques on the

(Shōwa 4)« 昭和己巳ノ初夏 平安 光孚画之

silk surfaces of the paintings but then adds details

Seal: Mitsuzane 光孚

in regular ink, colors and gold wash. He effectively uses the glistening surface of lacquer to simulate

A striking set of three paintings depicting various

the glistening scales of the carps; this works partic-

aspects of the carp. The carp has many connota-

ularly well on the central waterfall-climbing carp’s

tions in Japanese culture and a key meaning dates

fish scales between the streams of water.

back to Chinese texts. It was said that a carp which succeeded in ascending the Longmen Waterfall in

Mitsuzane’s attention to detail can also be seen

the Jishishan Mountains of China would become

in the silk mounting of the paintings, which have

a dragon. In extension, the image of the waterfall-

a design of water skaters and waves, echoing the

springing carp came to take on the symbolism

subject matter of the painting.

of perseverance. In Japan the image became a fitting present for someone who had to overcome

We know that Mitsuzane took part in group exhibi-

adversity; for example, a student about to take

tions in the late Meiji period (the earliest record is

entrance exams.

1906) and that he exhibited lacquer pieces in several national exhibitions, notably the 15th Teiten Exhibi-

The artist here, however, plays with this idea as he

tion (1934), the Revised Teiten Exhibition (1936),

depicts not only the central carp trying to cross

and the National Commemoration Exhibition (1940).3

the waterfall, but also two carps on the side paint-

He also held solo exhibitions, including a major one

ings swimming in tranquil waters. Although this

at the Tōhoku Kurabu in December 1917. Mitsuzane

combination is not unusual in itself, and artists such

was seen as an important lacquer artist of his time

as Maruyama Ōkyo (1733 – 95) have painted both

and there are several examples of his work in the col-

we understand the in-

lection of the Imperial Palace. In 2007, some of these

tention of the artist on reading the cover of the

objects were exhibited in a major exhibition of Taishō

wooden tomobako box. There the artist has entitled

period art in the Imperial collection.4

types of carp



18 Sano Ko ¯sui 佐野光穂 (1896 –1960) A Cat in a Melon Patch Taishō Period (1912 – 26), circa 1925

The technique he uses throughout is tarashikomi,

H 57" × W 20" (incl. mounting 85" × 26")

a procedure in which ink, mineral colors and gold

(145cm × 50.7 cm, 216 cm × 65.8 cm)

are dipped into a still-wet surface of ink.1 As the

Hanging scroll, ink, colors and gold on silk

technique is difficult to control, it is usually done on sized paper; tarashikomi on silk, as in this case, is

Signature: Keimei 契明

rare. The resulting painting is an elegant display of

Seal: Keimei 契明

the superlative skills of the artist.

A black cat sits among melons and looks out at the

Sano Kōsui came from the Nagano prefecture and

world. The artist presents us here with a striking

arrived in Kyoto in 1914 during the Taishō Period,

composition of a cat sitting in unexpected surround-

when many great painters were active at the same

ings. The painting is a well thought-out composi-

time.2 He was fortunate to become a student under

tion of shapes and colors in which the black furry

two of the leading artists of the time. He first learned

cat with golden eyes stands out among the light-

Shijō school techniques under Kikuchi Keigetsu

colored spiraling tendrils, decaying flowers, and

菊池契月 (1879 –1955), then Nihonga techniques

bulbous melons.

under Tomita Keisen 富田渓仙 (1879 –1936).3

The technical skills of the artist are astonishing:

The artist was also known for his independence and

he manages to combine the ink, colors and gold

strong will. He was ousted from Keigetsu’s studio

—both wet and dry—to create the furry coat of the

after he married against the wishes of his master.

cat (by making ink seep out into the silk) as well

Keisen, however, respected his talented student and

as the surface patterns of the melon and leaves.

the relations between the artist and his new master remained harmonious. Kōsui moved to Kobe, but returned to Kyoto in 1928, where he stayed for the rest of his professional life. He specialized in paintings of animals and took part in numerous exhibitions. His works were also included in prestigious national venues, such as the Teiten and the Inten exhibtions.4


19 Tsuji Kako ¯ 都路華杳 (1870 –1931) Daruma Portrait Taishō Period (1912 – 26), circa 1915

mottling of the surface, giving a realistic touch.

H 46 ¼" × W 16 ¼" (incl. mounting 84 ¾" × 23")

Kakō created a series of Daruma portraits in the

(117.2 cm × 41 cm, 215 cm × 58.2 cm)

1910’s 1; as in the other extant examples, there is

Hanging scroll, ink and colors on paper

also here an emphasis on the chest and the general hairiness of the Indian patriarch.2

Signature, painting: Kakō 華香 Seal, painting: Kakō 華香

One may well ask why a Nihonga artist would paint a series of Daruma images, a topic one would

Box inscription, top:

rather expect from Zen monks. One reason is Kakō’s

»Painting of Bodhidharma« 菩提達磨図

strong belief in Zen Buddhism, which is reflected in the thirty years of religious training he underwent

Box inscription, signature and seal inside:

with the monk Mokurai (1854 –1930), a Zen Bud-

»Title by Kakō« 華香題 and Shishun 子春

dhist abbot of the Kenninji Temple in Kyoto.3 Further, the historical and textual roots of Buddhism were

This striking portrait of the First Patriarch of Bud-

an important theme for the intellectuals of the Taishō

dhism, Bodhidharma (Japanese: Daruma) was

period. This was the time of the compilation and

painted by the noted Nihonga artist Kakō in the

publication of the great Taishō shinshū Daizōkyō, a

Taishō period. The body and robe of the patriarch

monumental work of Buddhist scholarship which is

are painted with strokes of abstracted repetitions,

still in use across the world. Therefore an intellectual

varying only in density. The heavy layering of color

interest in Buddhism and in the founder, Daruma,

on Daruma’s chest has resulted in an interesting

may also have been a reason for the many portraits. Kakō was known for his unusual cutting-edge images and succeeds, more than almost any other Japanese artist of his time, in combining Japanese painting tradition with modernist ideas; here, an old tradition of drawing portraits of Daruma is updated by the artist.4 For an example of his modernist painting in a screen format, see our 2009 publication, item 3. In the past decade, awareness of the artist has grown dramatically in the West and Kakō is now well represented in the museums and collections of the Western world.


20 Nantembo ¯ To ¯ju ¯ 南天棒登洲 (1839 –1925) Hearing Nothing, Seeing Nothing Taishō Period (1912 – 26), dated 1923

outer world for three days. That is, the word katsu

H 54 ¾" × W 20 ½" (incl. mounting 80" × 26 ½")

brought enlightenment to the monk through the

(139.3cm × 52 cm, 203 cm × 67 cm)

sheer force of its delivery and the overwhelmingly

Hanging scroll, ink on satin

strong personality of the master monk.

Signature: »eighty-five year old Nantembō Tōjū«

Nantembō cleverly recreates this verbal explosion


into a two-dimensional format by crashing his inkloaded brush with such force on the satin that ink


splashes all over the surface—and even beyond.

1) »eighty-five year old Nantembō« 八十五翁南天棒 2) Hakugaikutsu 白崖窟, and 3) Tōjū

登洲 1

Matthew Welch describes an eye-witness description of such creations: »Nantembō…heavily loading his oversized brush, slightly pinched the tip to tem-

Inscription: »Katsu! And for three days, hearing nothing« Katsu mikka jirō

喝三日耳聾 2

porarily stop the flow of ink out of the bristles, and then with great gusto hit the paper with the brush to begin the character.«4 Clearly the monk was sim-

Box inscription: »Nantembō ›Katsu mikka jorō‹

ulating the verbal force of his distant predecessor

scroll with satin« 南天棒 喝三日耳聾 絖本竪幅

and attempted to lead his viewers to enlightenment through a powerful calligraphic recreation of the

This powerful calligraphic scroll by the Zen monk

word katsu.

Nantembō shows the aged artist at the height of his powers. At eighty-five, the monk still astonishes

Nantembō returned repeatedly to the word katsu;

the viewer with his forceful strokes and his clear

for example, a hanging scroll with a large single

insight into Zen Buddhist texts and traditions.

character dated to 1911 is in the collection of the Museum of East Asian Art in Berlin.5 However, the

In this scroll Nantembō quotes an early key text of

combination of the character with the above inscrip-

the Zen monks, the Jingde chuandenglu (Japanese:

tion from Jingde chuandenglu is rare, and the

Keitoku dentōroku)『景徳伝燈録』, compiled in 1004.

present example may be the only extant version. It

The biography of the monk Hyakujō Ekai 百丈懐海

is in any case a remarkable example of Nantembō’s

(749 – 814) is described in this text, including how

striking visual interpretations of Zen Buddhist his-

he repeatedly goes to his master, the great monk

tory through the medium of calligraphy.

Basō Dōitsu 馬祖道一 (709 – 88), in order to receive guidance on his quest toward enlightenment. The meeting is recorded as follows: When I again approached Master Basō, he gave out a great yell: »Katsu!« and I could not hear for three days, nor could my eyes see. 老僧昔再参馬祖被大師一喝、直得三日耳聾眼暗 3 In other words, the yell »katsu!«—a word used to help bring monks to enlightenment—was said with such force that the monk was lost to the


Bamboo Baskets

21 Yamamoto Chikuryu ¯ sai 山本竹龍斎 Boat-Shaped Wide Basket 船形広籃 Taishō Period (1912 – 26), dated 1916

wider bamboo strips held together with rattan.

H 15 ¼" × L 20 ¾" × W 11¼"

The distinctive four-point handle is attached to the

(38.5 cm × 52.5 cm × 28.5 cm)

body with rattan braiding, which covers the entire

Ikebana flower basket

surfaces of the handle in an elegant pattern.

Madake bamboo, Hōbichiku bamboo and rattan

The basket comes with its original fitted tomobako box which is lacquered on all surfaces, a sign of the

Incised signature on the bottom:

high value Chikuryūsai placed on the basket and

Chikuryūsai kore tsukuru »Chikuryūsai made this«

a treatment generally reserved for karamono-style baskets. The box bears the inscriptions, signature,

Box inscription, outside:

date and cipher of Chikuryūsai.

Funagata morikago »Boat-Shaped Wide Basket« Chikuryūsai must have been very satisfied with Box inscription, inside: early spring, 1916 and

this boat-shaped basket, for when he was offered

signed Chikuryūsai with a kakihan cipher.

the opportunity to exhibit in Paris in 1925 at the Japanese art exhibition, he made a slightly longer

This exceptional ikebana basket is a fine example

basket in the same shape and construction. This

of the Chinese karamono-style, in which narrow

exhibition basket was illustrated in the 1925 catalog

bamboo strips are plaited symmetrically with

and won a silver prize. It is now in the collection of

great precision. Here the strips are plaited in the

the Oita Prefectural Arts and Crafts Museum.

hexagonal muttsume pattern and supported by



22 Maeda Chikubo ¯sai I

前田竹房斎 初代 (1872 –1950) Wide-Mouthed Flower Basket 広口花篭 Shōwa Period (1926 – 89), dated 1942

which is reinforced by two larger bamboo pieces

H 19 ½", D 10"

crossing the center. One of these pieces bears the

(49.5 cm, 25.5 cm)

incised signature reading Chikubōsai made this.

Ikebana flower basket Madaken bamboo, Hōbichiku bamboo

The sides are made of narrow strips of split madake

and rattan.

bamboo, plaited in a variation of the ajiro ami twill pattern. The sides are reinforced by six vertical

Incised signature on the bottom:

bamboo ribs, which are tightly plaited with rattan.

Chikubōsai kore tsukuru »Chikubōsai made this«

The rim is plaited in no less than five different patterns. The handle is made of three Hōbichiku

Box inscription, outside:

bamboo sections, decorated on the top with fine

Hiroguchi hanakago »Wide-Mouthed Flower Basket«

knotting and held to the body at ten points using tight rattan knotting.

Box inscription, inside: Autumn day of the 2602nd year of the Japanese Imperial calender (=1942).

The basket comes with its original fitted kiri-wood

Senyō Kuzezato Chikubōsai kore tsukuru

tomobako box bearing the inscriptions, signature

»Chikubōsai of the Senyō Studio in Kuzezato made

and seal mark of Chikubōsai.

this« with square red seal mark reading Chikubōsai. Chikubōsai was one of the greatest basket makers This large ikebana basket is made in the Chinese

of the Kansai region. He was active in the golden

karamono style, with exacting symmetry and

age of Japanese basketry, 1910 – 40, when high-qual-


ity baskets such as this one were eagerly collected by the Japanese and used in the tea ceremony.

The bottom is made of bamboo in the circular

Chikubōsai remained active through the second

amida kōami plaiting, where the bamboo strips are

World War and continued to make outstanding

arranged tangentially to form a circular opening,

baskets in those difficult years, such as this one in 1942 and another, item17 in our 2009 publication, in 1941.1 His son, Chikubōsai II (1917 – 2003), continued the basketry tradition and was named Living National Treasure for bamboo crafts in 1995.



23 Tanabe Chikuunsai I

田辺竹雲斎 初代 (1877 –1937) Crouching Tiger 虎伏 Shōwa Period (1926 – 89), 1920s

bottom in the hexagonal muttsume pattern. The

H 17 ¾", D 10 ¾"

bold handle of Kinmeichiku bamboo also has an

(45 cm, 27cm)

unusually beautiful patina and strength through

Ikebana flower basket

its bent form. In fact, the title that Chikuunsai gave

Kinmeichiku bamboo, Hōbichiku bamboo

the basket, »Crouching Tiger«, derives from this

and Madake bamboo

powerful handle.

Incised signature on the bottom:

The basket comes with its original lacquered bam-

Chikuunsai kore tsukuru »Chikuunsai made this«

boo otoshi tube to hold flowers and water and with its original fitted and inscribed kiri-wood box.

Box inscription, outside: Kinmeichiku hanakago torafushi

For two similar baskets using the same types of

»Kinmeichiku Bamboo Flower Basket: Crouching

bamboo, see Japanese Bamboo Baskets: Master-


works of Form & Texture from the Collection of Lloyd Cotsen (Los Angeles: Cotsen Occasional

Box inscription, inside: Sakai-fu nansō Chikuunsai

Press, 1999), item number 85 by Chikuunsai I and

kore tsukuru »Chikuunsai of the Nansō Studio in

item number 86 by his son Chikuunsai II.

Sakai-fu made this« with two red square seal marks reading Ta[nabe] Tsune[o] no in »seal mark of

Tanabe Chikuunsai, the son of a high-ranking phy-

Tanabe Tsuneo« and Chikuunsai.

sician in the Kansai region, studied bamboo art under Wada Waichisai I from the age of 18. After

Chikuunsai was at the apex of his career when

becoming independent six years later in 1901,

he made this outstanding basket using smoked

he won numerous awards at national and interna-

Hōbichiku bamboo with rich patina for the basket,

tional art exhibitions, including one in Paris in

plaiting the sides in the hemp-leaf pattern and the

1925. He is especially well known for his precise, detailed karamono-style baskets. He taught numerous apprentices, including Chikubōsai I and his son, Chikuunsai II.1



24 Morita Chikuami 森田竹阿弥 (1877 –1947)

Flared Flower Basket 末広形花籃 Shōwa Period (1926 – 89), 1930s

a warm patina over time. To add to an aged, rustic

H 19", D 10 ¼"

look, sabi or charcoal powder was dusted onto the

(48.5 cm, 26 cm)

surfaces and then only partially brushed away, re-

Ikebana flower basket

maining in corners and cracks. The body is plaited

Hōbichiku smoked bamboo and rattan

in an irregular ajiro ami or twill pattern and along the vertical bamboo strips and the handle are fancy

Incised signature on the bottom:

knots made with rattan.

Chikuami kore tsukuru »Chikuami made this« The basket is square on the bottom, flaring out to Box inscription, outside:

a larger round opening. This suehiro or flaring shape

Suehiro gata hanakago »Flared Flower Basket«

is auspicious in Japan, as it symbolizes growth and improvement, starting small and growing in size.

Box inscription, inside: Chikuami zō »Made by Chikuami«

On the bottom edge is the artist’s finely incised

with a round red seal mark reading Chikuami.

signature. The basket is complete with the original

Collector’s label on the box reads Takekago

otoshi bamboo tube to hold the flowers and water

hanaike or »Bamboo Basket Flower Vessel«

and the original fitted tomobako box.

This basket in the Japanese taste was made to look

Chikuami is the artist name of Morita Shintarō, who

rustic, using old hōbichiku smoked bamboo and

was active in Kyoto in the early Shōwa period. For

including knobbed node sections in the design.

this basket in the Japanese style (as opposed to the

After plaiting, the outer surfaces were lacquered

karamono Chinese style) he used Hōbichiku bamboo,

with a red-brown natural lacquer that has acquired

which is a smoked bamboo traditionally used in farm house ceilings. They can be hundreds of years old and have gained a warm rich-colored patina from age and from hearth smoke. For another basket by Chikuami in the karamono Chinese style, see our 2006 publication, item 13.



25 Kyokusai 旭斎 (ac. 1910 – 40) Flower Basket 花籠 Shōwa Period (1926 – 89), dated 1937

For a basket of similar shape and construction

H 17" × L 9 ¼" × W 7"

using light-colored bamboo, see Japanese Bamboo

(43.3 cm × 23.5 cm × 18 cm)

Baskets: Masterworks of Form & Texture from the

Ikebana flower basket

Collection of Lloyd Cotsen (Los Angeles: Cotsen

Susudake bamboo and rattan

Occasional Press, 1999), item number 210, entitled Magaki or »Fence.«

Incised signature on the bottom: Kyokusai saku »Made by Kyokusai«

Kyokusai is believed to have studied under Suzuki Kyokushōsai 鈴木旭松斎 and to have worked in

Box inscription, inside: Hanakago »Flower Basket«

Tokyo from the Taishō to early Shōwa periods.

and Kyokusai saku »Made by Kyokusai« with a rectangular red seal mark reading Kyokusai. Dated April, 12th year of Shōwa (=1937). This elegant masterpiece follows the Sensuji gumi or thousand-line construction, with parallel rows of narrow susudake bamboo strips held together by lines of rattan plaiting. Looking closely, one notices that Kyokusai cleverly arranged the bamboo strips so that the nodes appear on the bottom only. This arrangement keeps the sides smooth without distracting irregularities and reinforces the pure, minimalist design.




26 Incense Box with the Full Moon and Nanten Edo Period (1615 –1868), 18th C

in gold, silver, red and green hiramakie lacquer.

H 1" × L 2 ¾" × W 2 ¾"

The insides and the bottom are sprinkled with

(2.3 cm × 6.8 cm × 6.7 cm)

small nashiji gold flakes and the rims are created

Lacquer box

of pewter.

Box inscriptions:

The kōgō comes with an old fitted kiri-wood box

Kaneda 金田

inscribed on the inside of the cover and on the

Hōjuten 宝珠店

bottom with collector’s numbers and marks and the

»Number nine« 九番

name of an art shop, the »Shop of the Treasured Jewels« the Hōjuten 宝珠店.

In this evocative autumn view, we see sprays of the Nanten 南天 (Nadina, Nandina domestica) against the full moon. The season is indicated by the Nanten’s lingering blossoms on its branch tips and by its reddening berries that fully ripen in late autumn. With its red fruits, the Nanten became a symbol of winter, and the red berries are often depicted by Japanese artists who contrast them against the white snow. Here, however, the Nanten is used as a marker of the late autumn. The full moon on the box is also associated with autumn in Japan, as it is thought to be most beautiful in that season. The scene depicts the melancholy moments of lingering beauty, just before the winter sets in.1 The Kōgo incense box is formed in a rounded square shape and decorated on the top with the full moon in gold and silver togidashi lacquer. Around the moon and on the sides of the kōgo are branches, flowers and berries of the Nanten plant



27 Writing Box with Fans and Autumn Grasses Meiji Period (1868 –1912), circa 1900

court tradition, the exchange of fans decorated

H 1½" × L 8" × W 7 ¼"

with painting or calligraphy.1 The building on the

(4 cm × 20.4 cm × 18.4 cm)

lower fan is in the Heian period shinden-zukuri

Maki-e lacquer box

palatial architecture style, with references to Heian period Tales of Genji paintings, which featured

Inscription (on box top): »Autumn grasses pattern

similar settings with finely tended gardens. As

lacquer writing box« 秋草模様蒔絵硯筥

can be seen in item 2 of the present publication,

Inscription (on end of box): »Small type writing box,

scenes from Genji were also painted on folding

autumn grasses pattern, received from Mr. Nagata.«

screens in the Momoyama and Edo periods and

小形硯箱 秋草蒔絵 永田氏ヨリ

such compositions would have been familiar to members of the educated elite.

The two gold-lacquer fans on the cover of this superb rectangular suzuribako writing box distinct-

The veranda of the palace building on the fan,

ly stand out against the roiro mirror-black ground.

however, is without its Prince Genji. The stage was

The upper fan is decorated with a scene of chry-

likely left open by the artist to impart a generic

santhemum flowers by a bamboo fence and flow-

Heian flavor to the composition without anchoring

ering trees, rocks, waterfall and stream; the lower

it to a specific text or scene. Perhaps it was left

fan with a palace building by a garden with pines,

open so that the owner of the writing box could im-

cherry blossoms and fence, all surrounded by gold-

agine himself in the role of the Heian-period aris-

en clouds. The décor is executed in finely-detailed

tocrat, about to open the box to brush a poem to

high-relief takamakie gold, silver and red lacquer

a distant lover.

with additional details in hiramakie and togidashi lacquer and many inlays of irregularly-cut kirigane

Opening the writing box, one is rewarded with

gold foil squares and triangles. The curved outside

a dramatic view of a multitude of swaying fall

edges of the box are lacquered in togidashi gold

grasses, the Japanese pampas grass susuki 薄, in

lacquer; the rims of the box and of the ink stone in-

hiramakie gold and silver lacquer with the round

side are in solid silver.

suzuri ink stone representing the full moon. This inner composition refers to the Autumn Moon

The writing box contains numerous references to

Festival, the Jūgoya 十五夜, which is often symbol-

the literary traditions of courtly Japan, specifically

ized by susuki and the full moon. The festival takes

to those of the Heian period, which was seen by

place on the 15th day of the 8th month of the

many as the pinnacle of Japanese cultural achieve-

lunar calendar (usually mid- to late-September in

ments. The décor on the cover refers to a Heian

the Gregorian calendar), a date that parallels the autumn equinox in the northern hemisphere. The traditional food for this festival is the round cake tsukimi dango 月見団子, which echoes the shape and color of the distant moon. The writing box comes complete with the original two brushes, paper cutter and suiteki water dropper in the shape of shikishi poetry cards, all lacquered in togidashi gold lacquer; and with the original kiriwood fitted box.



28 Writing Box with Books Edo Period (1615 –1868), early 19th C

a rectangular silver suiteki water dropper and is

H 2" × L 9" × W 8 ¼"

decorated with more waves in gold and silver

(4.9cm × 22.8 cm × 21 cm)

togidashi. Below the tray, on the inside bottom of

Maki-e lacquer box

the writing box, are fifteen Chidori plover birds in hiramakie gold lacquer, flying in a circular pattern.

Inscriptions (on end of outer box): 1) »Gold lacquer writing box with books« 本蒔絵硯箱; 2) »Number

The scene refers to a poem from the famous poetry

seven. Strewn gold flakes and gold lacquer of

anthology, the Kokin wakashū:

books. Writing box, one piece« 七番 なし志 本 のまきへ すすり箱 一ツ

The plovers dwelling in Sashide Bay by its the salty cliffs cry yachiyo, wishing our lord a reign of eight

This exquisitely crafted gold-lacquer suzuribako

thousand years.

writing box, rectangular with rounded corners, is decorated on the cover with two Japanese books,

しほの山さしでの磯にすむ千鳥 君がみ代をばやち

placed partly on top of each other, in raised taka-


makie gold lacquer. The top book is decorated with a dragon in dark clouds, with a multitude of

The elements of plovers, cliffs and the ocean

kirigane gold-foil inlays; the lower book depicts

combine to make a poetic allusion to the wish for

phoenix roundels and seasonal flower bouquets

a long rule. The plovers’ cry chiyo, homophonous

in minutely-detailed gold takamakie lacquer on a

with chiyo 千代 »a thousand years« is a call for long

diamond-shaped floral pattern in gold and silver

rule. This is changed here by the poet to yachiyo

togidashi lacquer. The books each have a title pa-

八千代 »eight thousand years« and, by extension,

per in respectively gold and silver foil.

eternal rule and a reference to Japan’s Imperial line.

The dramatic design on the inside cover features

Symbolically the strong cliffs in the design are rulers

a large red sun appearing behind narrow clouds,

steadfast in the stormy sea and the birds are sub-

rising above craggy rocks in a stormy sea. The sun

jects flying in circles around the cliffs, all under the

is decorated in red and gold togidashi lacquer,

imposing large red rising sun, the symbol of the

and the clouds and rocks in raised takamakie gold

Japanese state. The two book covers of the writing

lacquer with a tour-de-force inlay of kirigane gold

box, depicting volumes from a poem anthology,

foil pieces cut in irregular squares and triangles.

introduce other allusions and symbols: the dragon

The ocean waves are depicted in gold and silver

rising out of the sky as a symbol of the male ele-

togidashi lacquer with further details of abalone

ment and the roundels of phoenix and chrysanthe-

and aquatic plants in hiramakie gold lacquer. The

mum as female elements.

removable tray holds the suzuri ink stone and The edges of the writing box cover are decorated with minute karakusa scrolling and diamond patterns in hiramakie gold lacquer. The writing box comes with its original double fitted storage boxes, both in black lacquer, the outer one bearing two inscribed collector’s labels. On the inside of the storage box is pasted poetry paper with a dyed design simulating poetry sheets used in Heian-period calligraphic works.



29 Zo ¯hiko Studio 象彦 Tales of Genji Tebako Box Meiji Period (1868 –1912), circa 1900

lacquer ground. The title »Tales of Genji« 源氏物語

H 4 ¼" × L 8 ¾" × W 7 ¼"

is written in takamakie gold lacquer on the cover

(11 cm × 22 cm × 18.5 cm)

on a gold and red lacquer togidashi ground with in-

Maki-e lacquer box

lays of small kirigane gold foil squares. The gold lacquer label is especially remarkable as it not only

Inscription on top of box: »Tales of Genji« 源氏物語

replicates the calligraphy of the title, »The Tales of Genji«, but also successfully replicates the complex

Inventory label on the inside cover:

dyed-paper slip on which the title seems to have

»Reference no. 817. Tebako in the Form of Genji

been written.

Books. Collection of the Zōhiko Country Pavilion« Additional details in this quest for realism are the Inscription on storage box: »Tebako box in the

remarkable mother-of-pearl clasps that seem to

shape of books, ex collection of the Zōhiko Country

keep the book cover together. The bottom and the

Pavilion« 冊子形 蒔絵手箱象彦山荘旧蔵

inside of the box are decorated with dense nashiji gold flakes and the inside cover bears an old inven-

This outstanding rectangular tebako box simulates

tory label from the Zōhiko studio.

a bound volume of the eleventh-century novel The Tales of Genji. The books are realistically rendered

The Zōhiko Studios is one of the oldest lacquer

with fine lines of silver lacquer to simulate indi-

houses of Japan. Presently under the leadership of

vidual sheets of paper as well as with a fine mosaic

the ninth-generation Nishimura Hikobei 西村彦兵衞

of mother-of-pearl and kirigane gold foil inlays on

(1931–), the house was established in the year 1661

a togidashi gold lacquer ground to simulate the

as the Zōgeya 象牙屋.1 The present lacquer box

book binding.

was in the storage of the studio for a long time and had been used as a reference model for creating

The spectacular book cover, which appears to hold

other objects.

the seven book volumes together, is decorated with alternating rectangles of shishi and dragons

The tebako comes with a black-lacquered fitted box

in takamakie raised gold lacquer on a togidashi

that bears an inscribed collector’s mark on the end.



30 Mikami Yo ¯ko ¯do ¯ 三上楊光堂 Writing Box with the Hundred Kings Taishō-Shōwa Periods, 1920s – 30s

hundred plants 百花之王.«1 Compositions that

H 4 ½" × L 10 ¾" × W 8 ¼"

depicted both together were deemed auspicious

(11.5 cm × 27.5 cm × 21.2 cm)

and were called the »Hundred Kings 百王« design,

Maki-e lacquer box

as they depicted the gathering of the respective rulers of the animal and plant kingdoms.

Inscription on outer tomobako box: »Tebako Box with Images of the Hundred Kings«

All outside edges are rounded and lacquered

手箱 百王之図

in gold and red lacquer togidashi. The lid rims and

(end of box):

the two rings to hold rope are in solid silver. The

»Tebako Box with Images of the Hundred Kings«

inside rims, including the suzuri ink stone rims are

手筥 百王之図

in silver lacquer; all other surfaces are covered

(inside lids):

with evenly sprinkled nashiji gold flakes. The suiteki

»Made by Mikami Yōkōdō of Kyoto«

water dropper is in the shape of a butterfly and is

平安 三上楊光堂造之

made of silver, shibuichi, shakudō, and inlaid gold.


The superb work was made by the lacquer work-

1) Mikami 三上

shop Mikami Yōkōdō 三上 楊光堂, which under

2) Yōkōdō 楊光堂

the leadership of Mikami Harunosuke 三上治助 (1850 –1920) won many honors, both in Japan as

On the inside of this fine stacked rectangular writ-

well as abroad. Objects from the workshop won

ing box there is a compartment for writing paper

prizes at several international exhibitions, includ-

above which is a lipped tray to hold writing utensils

ing Chicago in 1893, Seattle in 1896, and Hanoi

and a removable plate that stores the suzuri ink

in 1903. The son of the founder, Mikami Jisaburō

stone and suiteki water dropper.

三上治三郎 carried on the family tradition and

The outside décor is dominated by two dramatic

ists of the studio were attentive to international art

shishi lions in gold, silver, red and black raised

movements during its time of intensive interaction

takamakie lacquer; they are surrounded by stylized

with foreign fairs and it is therefore no surprise

peonies in gold and red lacquer togidashi on a

that the present writing box bears signs of foreign

roiro black lacquer ground. The design on this writ-

influence in its design. Under the leadership of

ing box has an ancient Chinese origin. The leg-

Mikami Jisaburō 三上治三郎, the studio became a

endary shishi lions were called the »king of hundred

known leader in introducing Art Nouveau styles to

animals 百獣之王« and the peony the »king of

Japanese audiences in the 1920s, as documented

won a prize at the 1937 Paris exhibition. The art-

in the recent exhibition at the Tokyo National Museum for Modern Art.2 A set of two nested double tomobako boxes were made for the writing box, both of kiri-wood, the outside one with lacquer. Both tomobako boxes are signed and sealed by Mikami of the Yōkōdō Studio.



Signatures and Seals Reproduced actual size

Nr. 5 Right

Nr. 8 Nr. 9

Nr. 10 Nr. 11

Nr. 4

Nr. 13

Nr. 5 Left Nr. 12

Nr. 6


Nr. 7

Nr. 14


Nr. 15

Nr. 16

Nr. 19

Nr. 17

Nr. 18


Nr. 20

Nr. 21

Nr. 22

Nr. 23

Nr. 24

Nr. 25


Box Inscriptions Reproduced half size except as noted

½ size Nr. 12

½ size

¹∕¹ size

Nr. 16 ¹∕¹ size ½ size

Nr. 17 ½ size Nr. 10 ¹∕¹ size

¼ size

Nr. 19

½ size

½ size

¼ size

½ size

¹∕¹ size

¼ size

¼ size

¼ size

Nr. 21

¼ size

½ size Nr. 13 ¹∕¹ size

Nr. 15 ¾ size

Nr. 20 ¹∕¹ size



Nr. 23 ¼ size Nr. 28

Nr. 22

½ size

Nr. 29 ¹∕¹ size ¹∕¹ size

Nr. 24

Nr. 25

½ size

¼ size

Nr. 26 ¹∕¹ size


Nr. 27

Nr. 30


Notes Nr. 1 Roosters and Chicken in a Bamboo Grove

in the moonlight… the moon shone more and more

Nr. 3 Scenes from the Great Eastern Road

Nr. 4 Peacock Pair by Cliffs

brightly through the marvelous stillness. She said: 1 An early example of this communal reclusion

»Frozen into ice, water caught among the rocks

1 See: Constantine Vaporis. Breaking Barriers: Travel

1 See an example by Maruyama Ōkyo in: Sasaki

appearing in both literature and art was the Seven

can no longer flow, and it is the brilliant moon that

and the State in Early Modern Japan. Cambridge,

Jōhei, Sasaki Masako, Osaka Shiritsu Bijutsukan

Sages of the Bamboo Grove (竹林七賢 Zhulin qi

soars through the sky.« Chapter 20, Tylor 373 – 4.

Mass.: Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard Uni-

大阪市立美術館, 佐々木丞平,佐々木正子, eds.

xian), a group of semi-legendary, like-minded sages,

Illustrated in Akiyama Ken and Eiichi Taguchi.

versity, 1994.

Maruyama Ōkyo: Shaseiga sōzō e no chōsen

who created a small secluded community isolated

Genji monogatari: Gōka »Genji-e« no sekai. Tokyo:

from the outside world. The group was composed

Gakushū Kenkyūsha, 1988, pp. 96 – 7.

of both historical and legendary figures said to have

tokubetsuten 円山応挙: 写生画創造への挑戦特別展. 2 Jippensha Ikku’s Hizakurige. An English translation

Tokyo: Mainichi Shinbunsha 每日新聞社, 2003, pp.

by Thomas Satchell is the Shanks’ Mare: Being a

198 – 201

been active in the third century, A.D. They rejected

3 Some artists depict this scene with the bridge,

Translation of the Tokaido volumes of »Hizakurige«,

the mundane world and gathered in a bamboo

see Akiyama Ken and Eiichi Taguchi. Genji mono-

Japan’s Great Comic Novel of Travel and Ribaldry

2 For other biographical details, see Yui Kazuto

grove to drink wine, play musical instruments, and

gatari: Gōka »Genji-e« no sekai. Tokyo: Gakushū

by Ikku Jippensha (1765 –1831). Tokyo and Rutland,

油井一人. Nijusseiki bukko nihongaka jiten 20世紀

carry on lofty conversation. For an early description

Kenkyūsha, 1988, p. 236.

VT.: Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1960.

物故日本画家事典. Tokyo: Bijutsu Nenkansha 美術年

of the group, see Liu Yiqing 劉義慶 (403 – 44), Shi

鑑社, 1998, p. 18. For the Kampo and the Araki fam-

shuo xin yu『世說新語』in Richard Mather, ed., Shih-

4 »The Pilgrimage to Sumiyoshi« Chapter number

3 The illustrations are not based on Hiroshige’s

ily of painters, see also Hitachi-shi Kyōdo Hakubut-

shuo Hsin-yü: A new account of tales of the world.

14, Murasaki Shikibu. The Tale of Genji. Royall Tyler,

series, although some stations might seem to be

sukan 日立市郷土博物館, ed. Kindai kachōga kō:

2nd ed. Ann Arbor: Center for Chinese Studies,

trans. 2 vols. New York: Viking, 2001, pp. 291– 2.

connected, such as Okazaki and Ishiyakushi. These

Dokugakai, Araki Ichimon no keifu 近代花鳥画考・

University of Michigan, 2002, 235 – 6, 399 – 405.

Illustrated in, for example: Akiyama Ken and Eiichi

images are instead based on the compositions in

読画会、荒木一門の系譜. Hitachi 日立: Hitachi-shi

Taguchi. Genji monogatari: Gōka »Genji-e« no sekai.

the 1797 Tōkaidō meisho zue, which, as mentioned

Kyōdo Hakubutsukan 日立市郷土博物館, 2000.

Tokyo: Gakushū Kenkyūsha, 1988, p. 79.

above, served as a model for many of Hiroshige’s

2 For a book-length discussion of such images, see Kendall Brown. The Politics of Reclusion: Painting and Power in Momoyama Japan. Honolulu: Univer-

views. See also footnote 5. 5 See the thoughtful article by Melinda Takeuchi

Nr. 5 The Raven and the Peacock

on the cultural meaning of the Uji Bridge in Kuroda

4 This was already a famous place in Edo in the

Taizō, et al. Worlds Seen and Imagined: Japanese

mid-17th century. See the study by Hiraoka Naoki

1 Taking the character »Hō 邦« from his teacher.

3 See examples in Wakisaka Atsushi. Momoyama

Screens from the Idemitsu Museum of Arts. New

平岡直樹 and Sasaki Kunihiro 佐々木邦博 »Edo mei-

Kihō’s original name was Hiroaki 廣精, which appears

kōki no kachō: Kenrantaru taiga II. Series: Kachōga

York: The Asia Society Galleries, 1995.

shoki ni miru 17-seiki nakagoro no Edo no meisho

in the seal on the screen.

sity of Hawaii, 1997.

no tokuchō«『江戸名所記』に見る17世紀中頃の江戸

no sekai, vol. 4. Tokyo: Gakken, 1982, plates 22, 34, and 35.

6 Miyuki Chapter 29. Murasaki Shikibu. The Tale of

の名所の特徴. Shinshū Daigaku Nōgakubu Kiyō

2 They are still in museum storage. According to

Genji. Royall Tyler, trans. 2 vols. New York: Viking,

信州大学農学部紀要 38,1/2 (2002), pp. 37 – 44

the database of the University Art Museum, Tokyo University of the Arts, they are Summer Landscape

2001, p. 499. Illustrated in Akiyama Ken and Eiichi Nr. 2 Scenes from the Tales of Genji

Taguchi. Genji monogatari: Gōka »Genji-e« no sekai.

5 A screen in the Berkeley East Asian Library (East

夏景山水, hanging scroll, colors on silk, composed

Tokyo: Gakushū Kenkyūsha, 1988, p. 143.

Asian Library call number: Byobu 2 SPEC-Map),

in 1890, 123.8 × 61.3 cm; Two Figures under a Pine,

which the university dates to the 17th century,

hanging scroll, colors on paper, 105.7 × 39.0 cm;

1 »Many years may pass, yet one thing will never change: that my heart is yours, for that I promise

7 Chapter 15, Murasaki Shikibu. The Tale of Genji.

shows the same mixture of sources. It may well be

and Summer Landscape, hanging scroll, colors on

you by the Isle of Orange Trees« From chapter 51

Royall Tyler, trans. 2 vols. New York: Viking, 2001,

that this was a separate tradition that focused on

silk, dated 1893, 80.8 × 155.8 cm. The latter is listed

in the Genji. Murasaki Shikibu. The Tale of Genji.

pp. 308 –10. Illustrated Akiyama Ken and Eiichi

the screen and hand scroll formats. The Berkeley

as his graduation work.

Royall Tyler, trans. 2 vols. New York: Viking, 2001,

Taguchi. Genji monogatari: Gōka »Genji-e« no sekai.

screen and the present screen share a number

p. 1025. See illustrations of this scene, for example,

Tokyo: Gakushū Kenkyūsha, 1988, pp. 80 – 3.

of compositional features and it is possible that

3 Tsunoda Ryūsaku developed the Japanese collec-

Akiyama Ken and Eiichi Taguchi. Genji monogatari:

there is a connection of some kind between

tions at Columbia Univeristy’s library and taught

Gōka »Genji-e« no sekai. Tokyo: Gakushū Kenkyūsha,

the screens and their artists. For a image of the

a number of pioneering courses at the university.

1988, page 236.

Berkeley screen, see the internet site: http://

Among his many students are figures such as

Donald Keene, who has in turn been key in the

2 »Genji had the page girls go down and roll a


development of Japanese studies in the United

snowball. Their charming figures and hair gleamed


States. Among Tsunoda’s texts is the still-reprinted



anthology of Japanese texts: Tsunoda Ryusaku,

entries. For a biography of the artist, see Ōtsu City

Nr. 8 Flowering Yamabuki

1964, p. 205, and Hanazono Daigaku Kokusai Zengaku Kenkyūjo 花園大学国際禅学研究所, ed.

William Theodore de Bary, and Donald Keene.

Museum of History 大津市歴史博物館, ed. Shirarezaru

Sources of Japanese Tradition. 2 vols. New York:

Nihon kaiga 知られざる日本絵画 (English title:

1 Shibuichi (四分一) is a type of metal that can be

Hakuin zenga bokuseki 白隱禪画墨蹟. 3 vols. Tokyo:

Columbia University Press, 1958.

Unexplored Avenues of Japanese Painting). Seattle

patinated into a range of subtle muted shades

Nigensha 二玄社, 2009, vol. 1, pp188 – 9.

and Ōtsu: University of Washington Press, Ōtsu

of blue or green. The name means literally »one-

4 For example, he makes a visit to the Hōdai’in

City Museum of History 大津市歴史博物館, 2001,

fourth« in Japanese and indicates the chemical

4 See Takeuchi Naoji 竹内尚次. Hakuin 白隠. Tokyo:

宝台院 in Shizuoka Prefecture in 1917. See Tachibana

36, 124, 190; Paul Berry and Michiyo Morioka,

formula of one part silver to three parts copper.

Chikuma Shoten 筑摩書店, 1964, appendix, p. 40.

Yoshiaki 立花義彰 »Shizuoka kindai bijutsu nenpyō,

Modern Masters of Kyoto: The Transformation of

Taishō hen 静岡近代美術年表 大正編« Shizuokaken

Japanese Painting Traditions, Nihonga from the

2 For list of the exhibitions and other information on

Hakubutsukan Kyōkai Kenkyū Kiyō 静岡県博物館協会

Griffith and Patricia Way Collection. Seattle: Seattle

Issan’s career, see the other entry by Issan in this cata-

研究紀要 29 (2006), 55. For other details, see: Araki

Art Museum, 1999, 270 – 3; and Roberts (1976), 43;

log and Nittenshi Hensan Iinkai 日展史編纂委員会.

5 Takeuchi ordered all Hakuin paintings and cal-

Tadashi 荒木矩. Dai Nihon shoga meika daikan『大日

and Paul Berry and Michiyo Morioka, Literati Mod-

Bunten, Teiten, Shin Bunten, Nitten zen shuppin

ligraphies into four different periods, in which the

本書画名家大監』. 4 vols. Original ed.: 1934. Tokyo:

ern: Bunjinga from Late Edo to Twentieth-Century

mokuroku: Meiji 40-nen--Shōwa 32-nen: Nitten shi

earliest period dates up to the monk’s 56th year.

Dai-Ichi Shobō 第一書房, 1991, vol. 2, p. 2489.

Japan: The Terry Welch Collection at the Honolulu

shiryō 文展・帝展・新文展・日展全出品目錄: 明治 40

See Takeuchi Naoji 竹内尚次. Hakuin 白隠. Tokyo:

Academy of Arts. Honolulu: Honolulu Academy of

年--昭和 32年: 日展史資料. Tokyo: Nittenshi Hensan

Chikuma Shoten 筑摩書店, 1964, p. 51.

Arts, 2008, pp. 265 – 6.

Iinkai 日展史編纂委員会, 1990, vol. 2, p. 24

Nr. 7 Morning Quiet

Nr. 9 Sea Gulls by the Seashore

If true, it would mean that the monk painted the work only a year after receiving his name Hakuin.

Nr. 6 Chinese Landscape with Pagoda Nr. 11 Tenjin Traveling to China 1 Paul Berry and Michiyo Morioka, Literati Modern:

1 For more information on this important char-

Bunjinga from Late Edo to Twentieth-Century Japan: The Terry Welch Collection at the Honolulu Academy

1 For details, see: Nittenshi Hensan Iinkai 日展史編

1 In Tokyo alone, it is estimated that over 140,000

acter, see the excellent book by Robert Borgen.

of Arts. Honolulu: Honolulu Academy of Arts, 2008,

纂委員会, ed. Nittenshi 日展史. Tokyo: Nitten 日展,

people lost their lives in the Kanto Earthquake and

Sugawara no Michizane and the Early Heian Court.

pp. 170 –1.

1980 –, vol. 8, p. 117, nr. 181. See also exhibition

the resulting fires.

Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1994.

labels on the back of the screen. 2 See Paul Berry and Michiyo Morioka, Modern

2 At least twenty extant Hakuin paintings of Michzane

Masters of Kyoto, pages 272–3, and their Literary

2 The emphasis on the line in Issan’s work clearly

Modern, pages 170–1 for depictions of two sets

comes from his two masters of the sketched line.

of ink landscape screens that were produced at

Nr. 10 The Second Patriarch Standing in the Snow

have been published. See: Hanazono Daigaku Kokusai Zengaku Kenkyūjo 花園大学国際禅学研究所,

1 For more information on the stories of the early

ed. Hakuin zenga bokuseki 白隱禪画墨蹟. 3 vols.

around this time, including the pair of screens that

3 For details on exhibits, see: Nittenshi Hensan Iinkai

Zen Patriarchs, see John R. McRae, Seeing through

Tokyo: Nigensha 二玄社, 2009, vol 1, pp. 218 –19;

was sent to the Teiten in 1925. This group of works

日展史編纂委員会. Bunten, Teiten, Shin Bunten,

Zen: Encounter, Transformation, and Genealogy in

John Stevens. Zenga: Brushstrokes of Enlightenment.

is further described in a footnote on page 273 of

Nitten zen shuppin mokuroku: Meiji 40-nen--Shōwa

Chinese Chan Buddhism. Berkeley: University of

New Orleans: New Orleans Museum of Art, 1990,

Modern Masters of Kyoto.

32-nen: Nitten shi shiryō 文展・帝展・新文展・日展全

California Press, 2003, and Philip Yampolsky, Ch’an,

pages 124 – 5; Nakamura Gen 中村元, ed. Hakuin Zenji

出品目錄: 明治 40年--昭和 32年: 日展史資料. Tokyo:

a Historical Sketch in Buddhist Spirituality in Later

白隠禅師. Hara 原: Shōinji Temple 松蔭寺, 2000, p. 95;

3 For another work with a similar theme, see the

Nittenshi Hensan Iinkai 日展史編纂委員会, 1990,

China, Korea, Japan and the Modern World, edited

Tanaka Daisaburō 田中大三郎, ed. Hakuin zenshi

pair of six-panel screens in the 2009 catalog, featur-

vol. 2, p. 24.

by Takeuchi Yoshinori. SCM Press, 1999.

bokusekishu 白隠禅師墨蹟集. Tokyo: Rokugei Shobō 六芸書房, 2006, pl. 50; Hanazono Daigaku Rekishi

ing a winter scene of the Higashiyama district. Here, too, was a remarkable display of technical abilities,


2 As well as for artists: for example, Sesshū Tōyō

Hakubutsukan 花園大学歴史博物館, Yoshizawa

especially in the virtuosic use of gofun, or sea shell


雪舟等楊 (1420 –1506) famously painted the scene

Hatsuhiro 芳澤勝弘, Fukushima Tsunenori 福島恒徳,

powder, to imitate snow.

きだらう」See his article: »Bunten nihonga tenbō

of the Second Patriarch bringing his severed arm to

Satō Makoto 佐藤誠, eds. Hakuin Zenji to bokuseki:

文展日本画展望« in Oguma Hideo 小熊秀雄.

the seated Bodhidharma in a painting from 1496.

Shinde Ryūunji Temple Collection 白隠禅師と墨跡・

4 Baisen exhibited extensively at the national exhibi-

Oguma Hideo zenshū 小熊秀雄全集. 5 vols. Tokyo:

tions and his work was accepted into every Teiten

Sōjusha 創樹社, 1990 –1, vol. 5.

新出龍雲寺コレクション. Kyoto: Hanazono Daigaku 3 Besides the present work, only three portraits

Rekishi Hakubutsukan 花園大学歴史博物館, 2004,

exhibition from the very first to the very last and

have been recorded. Takeuchi Naoji 竹内尚次.

p. 33; Asai Kyōko 浅井京子, ed. Kyū-Tomioka

into all but one Bunten exhibitions, twice with two

Hakuin 白隠. Tokyo: Chikuma Shoten 筑摩書店,

Bijutsukan shozō: Zen shoga mokuroku 旧富岡美術



館所蔵・禅書画目録. Tokyo: Waseda University Aizu

2 For an English-language biography of Sengai,

audiences, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s.

the Good Life«, Impressions 24 (December, 2002):

Yaichi Memorial Museum 早稲田大学會津八一記念

see Stephen Addiss. The Art of Zen: Paintings and

Recent scholars have been somewhat more critical

pp. 15 – 21 and 48 – 71; and »Food and Art: Hiroshige’s

博物館, 2007, page 88; Yamanouchi, Chōzō 山内長

Calligraphy by Japanese Monks 1600 –1925. New

of his role, see, for example, Robert Sharf, »Who’s

Restaurant prints in the Elvehjem.« Bulletin of the

三. Hakuin-san no eseppō 白隠さんの絵説法. Tokyo:

York: Harry N. Abrams, 1989, pp. 176 – 85.

Zen: Zen Nationalism Revisited«, in Rude Awaken-

Elvehjem Museum of Art, Summer 2002 issue,

ings: Zen, the Kyoto School & Zen Nationalism,

pp. 27 – 40.

Daihō Rinkaku 大法輪閣, 1991, p. 100; Mochizuki Noboru 望月昇, ed. Hakuin: Zen to shoga 白隠・禅と

3 See for example the humorous street performers

J. W. Heisig & John Maraldo eds., Nanzen Institute

書画. Kyoto: ADK, 2004, p. 148; Morita, Shiryū 森田

in Furuta Shōkin 古田紹欽. Sengai 仙厓. Tokyo:

for Religion and Culture. Honolulu: University of

5 On the second floor we see a drinking party with

子龍, ed. Bokubi Tokushū: Hakuin bokuseki 墨美特

Idemitsu Bijutsukan 出光美術館, 1985, pp. 102 – 3;

Hawaii Press, 1995.

a geisha. Interestingly, this information is imparted

集―白隠墨蹟.Collected edition of the issues of the

see also Daisetz Suzuki. Sengai: The Zen Master.

Bokubi journal numbers 77, 78, 79, and 90, illustrat-

London: Faber and Faber, 1971, p. 124.

through a shadow on a window—that is, through a 7 Two other examples can be seen in Nichibō

shadow of a shadow.

shuppansha 日貿出版社, ed. Sengai no zenga:

ing the collected works of Hakuin. Kyoto: Bokubisha 墨美社, 1985, pp. 86 and 124; Tanahashi, Kazuaki.

4 We see Sengai playing with a similar blurring

Satori no bi 仙厓の禪画: 悟りの美. Tokyo: Nichibō

6 The name refers to the ratio of buckwheat flour

Penetrating Laughter: Hakuin’s Zen & Art. Woodstock,

between elite and common factors in the very

shuppansha 日貿出版社, 1984, plates 84 and 118.

(80%) to wheat flour (20%). This was a type of soba

NY: The Overlook Press, 1984., pl. 30; and Takeuchi,

execution of the painting. Here the silk surface has

Naoji 竹内尚次. Hakuin 白隠. Tokyo: Chikuma Shoten

been left only partly sized, which led to the striking

8 Hisamatsu Shin’ichi 久松真一 describes the col-

preferred today. Due to the fear of fire, the type of

筑摩書店, 1964, pl. 375 – 6.

pattern of ink clots on the surface. Moreover, Sengai

lecting activities of the monk in his article: »Sengai

traveling soba seller (with his fire and hot cauldron)

seems to have painted on the top of a tatami panel

no zenfū 仙厓の禪風.« Bokubi 墨美 110 (1961),

that we see on this painting was prohibited in 1799,

pp. 11–16.

but the laws were relaxed in the first decades of

that was favored in Edo and is harder than the type

3 Hakuin appears to have enjoyed using mojie and

division, which left a line intersecting across the

there are numerous other examples of his using

top of the rice bales. This visual clumsiness was not

the nineteenth century. By the time this painting

the technique with other topics and compositions.

accidental, as Sengai was thoroughly able to com-

was made, the prohibition was no longer followed.

The tradition is old in Japan with examples dating

pose careful and skillful images, including works on

back to the Heian period. For more on the tradition

a large scale and full-sized six-panel screens. See

Nr. 13 Fire in Edo

See: Nagayama Hisao 永山久夫. Tabemono Edo shi たべもの江戸史. Tokyo: Shin Jinbutsu Oraisha

and on Hakuin’s mojie paintings, see Audrey Seo.

the remarkable screens in Takeo Izumi 泉武夫 and

1 As for the number of fires for the major cities dur-

Painting-Calligraphy Interactions in the Zen Art of

Minakami Tsutomu 水上勉. Sengai, Hakuin 白隱・

ing the 267 years of the Edo period, Osaka had 6

Hakuin Ekaku (1685 –1768). PhD dissertation.

仙厓. Tokyo: Kōdansha 講談社, 1995, pp. 10 –11,

major fires, Kyoto had 9, Kanazawa had 3, and Edo

7 See for example, Itō Shiori 伊藤紫織. »Shini-e to

University of Kansas, 1997. For more on Hakuin’s

54 – 9. Sengai’s paintings appear unskillful but this

had 49 major fires. Kuroki Takashi 黒木喬. Edo no kaji

gachūga: shōzō toshite no shini-e« 死絵と画中画・

Michizane paintings, see pages 253 – 5. See also

was clearly an intended effect by the artist. Sengai

江戸の火事. Dōseisha 同成社, 1999, p. 3.

肖像としての死絵. Journal of Development and Sys-

Yoshizawa Katsuhiro 芳澤勝弘. Hakuin no mojie:

was in fact highly skilled and a great deal of experi-

新人物往来社, 1976.

tematization of Death and Life Studies, Tokyo Univer-

Hitomaro-zō to Totō Tenjin-zō 白隠の文字絵―人丸像

ence and technical abilities stand behind his works.

2 The painting may very well be the depiction of

sity 東京大学グローバルプログラム「死生学の展開と組

と渡唐天神像―. Zen Bunka 禅文化 188 (2003)

See for example the interesting article by Nishimura

the great Aoyama Fire 青山火事 of the 24th day of

織化」(2009) pp. 173 – 96; Osaka Municipal Museum

Nangaku 西村南岳. »Sengai Zenga: Honmono,

the first month of 1845, which eventually spread

of Art 大阪市立美術館, ed. Tokubetsuten: Shōzō

4 The text is the Kanshin nissō jueki 菅神入宋授衣記.

nisemono 仙厓禅画・ほんもの、にせもの.« Bokubi

across the western part of the city, leading to the

gasan, hito no sugata hito no kotoba 特別展・肖像画

It can be found in the nineteenth volume of Gunsho

墨美 114 (1962), pp. 5 – 8.

destruction of vast tracts of land, including 187

賛=人のすがた、人のことば. Osaka: Osaka Municipal

Buddhist temples, and the death of 800 – 900 people.

Museum of Art 大阪市立美術館, 2000, pl. 123; and

texts deal with this narrative, but the above text

5 Daisetz T. Suzuki. Sengai (1750 –1837). Trans. Eva

Hata Ichijirō 畑市次郎. Tōkyō saigai-shi 東京災害史.

Timon Screech. The Western Scientific Gaze and

seems to be the original one. See article by Yoshizawa

von Hoboken. Vienna: Oesterreichisches Museum

Tokyo: Tosei tsūshin sha 都政通信社, 1952, p. 54

Popular Imagery in Later Edo Japan: The Lens within

for a more complete discussion.

für Angewandte Kunst, 1964, plate 5.

ruiju 群書類従. A number of other 13th century

the Heart. Cambridge, New York and Melbourne: 3 A number of fire fighting groups were active in

Nr. 12 The Hakata Top Crossing a String

Cambridge University Press, 1996, pp. 113 –16.

6 The catalogue that accompanied the tour fea-

this area. For an overview, see Kuroki Takashi

tured the writing of the famous Buddhism scholar

黒木喬. Edo no kaji 江戸の火事. Dōseisha 同成社,

8 This temple, also called the Sasadera 笹寺, was

Daisetz T. Suzuki (1870 –1966). Suzuki was an


one of the best known temples in the city and a

1 Box, outer inscription on end: »Painting of the

important author of books and essays on Zen

Hakata Top by Sengai« Hakata koma no e Sengai

and Pure Land Buddhism that spread interest in

4 For the restaurant culture of Edo, see Hans Bjarne

Hasegawa Settan (1778 –1843) in the Edo meishi

博多コマノ絵 仙厓

Buddhism and Eastern Spiritualism to Western

Thomsen, »The Other Hiroshige: Connoisseur of

zue book series, initially published in 1834 with


place for cultural meetings. It was illustrated by


volumes 1– 3 (a total of 10 books) and republished

2 The album is noted in Nittenshi Hensan Iinkai

For short but useful biographies with paintings of

University of Washington Press, Ōtsu City Museum

in 1836 with volumes 4 – 7 (a total of 20 books). The

日展史編纂委員会. Bunten, Teiten, Shin Bunten,

this artist, see Ōtsu City Museum of History 大津市

of History 大津市歴史博物館, 2001, pp. 160 –1.

temple, located in Yotsuya, was founded in 1575.

Nitten zen shuppin mokuroku: Meiji 40-nen--Shōwa

歴史博物館, ed. Shirarezaru Nihon kaiga 知られざ

32-nen: Nitten shi shiryō 文展・帝展・新文展・日展

る日本絵画 (English title: Unexplored Avenues of

9 He is listed in a number of contemporary bio-

全出品目錄: 明治 40年--昭和 32年: 日展史資料.

Japanese Painting). Seattle and Ōtsu: University of

graphical dictionaries featuring cultural figures of

Tokyo: Nittenshi Hensan Iinkai 日展史編纂委員会,

Washington Press, Ōtsu City Museum of History

the time, for example: Ansei bungajin meiroku

1990, vol. 2, p. 28. See also: Paul Berry and Michiyo

大津市歴史博物館, 2001, 36, 124, 190; Paul Berry

1 A number of paintings of carps were painted by

安政文雅人名録 from 1860.

Morioka, Literati Modern: Bunjinga from Late Edo

and Michiyo Morioka, Modern Masters of Kyoto:

Maruyama Ōkyo, who also specialized in waterfall

to Twentieth-Century Japan: The Terry Welch Col-

The Transformation of Japanese Painting Traditions,

paintings. He famously created an image of the

lection at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. Honolulu:

Nihonga from the Griffith and Patricia Way Collection.

climbing koi partly obscured by the streams of fall-

Honolulu Academy of Arts, 2008, p. 265.

Seattle: Seattle Art Museum, 1999, 270 – 3; and

ing water. Mitsuzane clearly refers to these painting

Roberts (1976), 43.

and then recreates them in the medium of lacquer.

Nr. 14 Waterfall 1 See, for example, an example of a hanging scroll

3 This pair of screens, Kyoto in the Winter, is depicted

over 3.6 meters in length in Sasaki Jōhei, Sasaki

and described in our 2009 publication, item 5.

Masako, Osaka Shiritsu Bijutsukan 大阪市立美術館,

Nr. 17 Set of Three Lacquer Paintings with Carps

For images of both types of carps by Ōkyo, see 8 See examples of the former in McKelway, Matthew,

for example Sasaki Jōhei, Sasaki Masako, Osaka

Capitalscapes: Folding Screens and Political Imagi-

Shiritsu Bijutsukan 大阪市立美術館, 佐々木丞平,佐

佐々木丞平, 佐々木正子, eds. Maruyama Ōkyo:

4 For a two-panel screen with a Chinese scene

nation in Late Medieval Kyoto. Honolulu: Hawaii

々木正子, eds. Maruyama Ōkyo: Shaseiga sōzō e no

Shaseiga sōzō e no chōsen tokubetsuten 円山応挙:

from the mid 1910’s, see the present publication,

University Press, 2006.

chōsen tokubetsuten 円山応挙: 写生画創造への挑

写生画創造への挑戦特別展. Tokyo: Mainichi Shin-

item 6.

戦特別展. Tokyo: Mainichi Shinbunsha 每日新聞社,

bunsha 每日新聞社, 2003, p. 159

2003, p. 27. 5 The use of gofun on the reverse side of a painting

Nr. 16 New Year with Small Pines and a Pair of

2 The details do not stop at the painted surface.

is a technique used much earlier in Buddhist paint-


Looking closely, one can see that the silk strips

ings. The painter Itō Jakuchū (1716 –1800) also used

(ichimonji) above and below the painting has a

the technique in some of his finest paintings.

lacquer screen with an image of a carp, can be 1 See for example, the famous pair of crane

seen in our 2007 publication, item 30.

paintings by Wen Cheng (ac. 15th century) in the

décor of waves and clouds and function as an extension of the painted scene.

2 Another work by this talented artist, a standing

6 For another work with a similar theme, see the

Daitokuji Temple and the later adaptations by Itō

3 Nittenshi Hensan Iinkai 日展史編纂委員会. Bunten,

pair of six-panel screens in the 2009 publication,

Jakuchū (1716 –1800) in Money L Hickman and

Teiten, Shin Bunten, Nitten zen shuppin mokuroku:

3 For biographical details, see Yui Kazuto 油井一人.

item 5, featuring a winter scene of the Higashiyama

Yasuhiro Satō. The Paintings of Jakuchū. New York:

Meiji 40-nen--Shōwa 32-nen: Nitten shi shiryō 文展・

Nijusseiki bukko nihongaka jiten 20 世紀物故日本

district. Here, too, was a remarkable display of

Asia Society Galleries, 1989, pp. 36 – 7.

帝展・新文展・日展全出品目錄: 明治 40年--昭和 32年:

画家事典. Tokyo: Bijutsu Nenkansha 美術年鑑社,

technical abilities, especially in the virtuosic use of

1998, pp. 382 – 3.

gofun to depict falling snow.

日展史資料. Tokyo: Nittenshi Hensan Iinkai 日展史編 2 In addition, the tradition of displaying young pine

纂委員会, 1990, vol. 2, p. 108.

seedlings—the so-called kadomatsu—at house en7 Baisen’s later works were criticized by some of Nr. 15 The Snow of Kamogawa River

trances at New Year became a Japanese tradition.

4 See: Sannomaru Shōzōkan 三の丸尚蔵館, ed. Iwai no bi: Taishōki kōshitsu gokeiji no shinajina 祝美大正

his contemporary critics, who characterized him

期皇室御慶事の品々. Tokyo: Kunaichō 宮内庁, 2007

as an artist who peaks early and then levels off to

3 See details of his life in the following publications:

1 The name of the Matsubara Bridge is also written

mediocrity. In retrospect this seems highly unde-

Yui Kazuto 油井一人. Nijusseiki bukko nihongaka

on the inscription at the end of the box. The address

served, as the works of the mature artist are just as

jiten 20世紀物故日本画家事典. Tokyo: Bijutsu Nenk-

is given there as »Miyagawa 7-chō«, a shortening of

imaginative as the earlier, though not in an openly

ansha 美術年鑑社, 1998, pp. 430 –1; Ellen P. Conant,

the name Miyagawasuji. The present address is the

demonstrative manner. A reappraisal of the artist’s

et al., Nihonga, Transcending the Past: Japanese

sixth ward and not the seventh, perhaps a mistake

career and his role of twentieth century Nihonga

Style Painting, 1868 –1968. Saint Louis: The Saint

1 The process was originally developed by Rimpa

by the artist. The bridge is unchanged to this day and

movement are clearly needed. For one thing, his

Louis Art Museum and The Japan Foundation,

school artists, such as Ogata Kōrin, but was ad-

there are still places for nocturnal entertainment

remarkable success at national exhibitions is hard

1995, p. 329; and Ōtsu City Museum of History

opted by the Nihonga school in the early twentieth

on the other side of the river.

to deny: his work was accepted into every Teiten

大津市歴史博物館, ed. Shirarezaru Nihon kaiga

century. Kōsui takes the process to new levels, for

exhibition from the first to the very last and into all

知られざる日本絵画 (English title: Unexplored

example, even his signature on the top right of the

but one Bunten exhibitions, twice with two entries.

Avenues of Japanese Painting). Seattle and Ōtsu:

painting is created in ink mixed with gold.


Nr. 18 A Cat in a Melon Patch


2 For biographical details, see: Yui Kazuto 油井一人.

3 One of the last paintings brushed by Kakō was

2 Also Romanized as »sanjitsu jirō« and »mijirō.«

Nijusseiki bukko nihongaka jiten 20世紀物故日本

a portrait of this monk. For details, see: Paul Berry

See for example, Yokoi Yūhō, The Japanese English

画家事典. Tokyo: Bijutsu Nenkansha 美術年鑑社,

and Michiyo Morioka, Literati Modern: Bunjinga

Buddhist Dictionary (Tokyo: Sankibō Buddhist Book

1 Kokin wakashū 古今和歌集, poem number 345.

1998, p. 196. Some of the artist names he used

from Late Edo to Twentieth-Century Japan: The Terry

Store, 1991), pp. 580 –1

Based on the translation in Helen Craig McCullough,

include Keimei 契明, Deigyū 泥牛, and Kōrin 晃林.

Welch Collection at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. Honolulu: Honolulu Academy of Arts, 2008, p. 266.

Nr. 28 Writing Box with Books

Kokin wakashū: the First Imperial Anthology of 3 Jingde chuandenglu (Japanese: Keitoku dentōroku) 『景徳伝燈録』(Shanghai: Shang wu yin shu guan,

Japanese Poetry: with Tosa nikki and Shinsen waka.

3 See biographical information on Keisen: Paul

See also: Ellen P. Conant, et al., Nihonga, Transcend-

Berry and Michiyo Morioka, Literati Modern: Bunjinga

ing the Past: Japanese Style Painting, 1868 –1968.

from Late Edo to Twentieth-Century Japan: The

Saint Louis: The Saint Louis Art Museum and The

Terry Welch Collection at the Honolulu Academy of

Japan Foundation, 1995, p. 328.

4 See Welch, ibid, page 136.

Nr. 29 Tales of Genji Tebako Box

pp. 306 – 8; for Keigetsu, see: Kyoto City Museum

4 For biographical information on the artist, see the

5 See Stephen Addiss. The Art of Zen. New York:

1 The store is presently located in the Okazaki area

京都市美術館, ed. Kikuchi Keigetsu to sono keifu

following texts: Michiyo Morioka, »A Reexamination

Harry Abrams, 1989, p. 191.

of Kyoto, which is also the location of period exhi-

菊池契月とその系譜. Kyoto: Kyoto Shimbunsha

of Tsuji Kakō’s Art and Career« in Paul Berry and

京都新聞社, 1999.

Michiyo Morioka, Modern Masters of Kyoto: The

Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1985, p. 83.


Arts. Honolulu: Honolulu Academy of Arts, 2008,

Transformation of Japanese Painting Traditions,

bitions of objects from the storage collections of the studio. There is also a major store in Tokyo in Nr. 22 Maeda Chikubōsai I

4 For some of the national exhibitions he was part

Nihonga from the Griffith and Patricia Way Collection.

of, see: Nittenshi Hensan Iinkai 日展史編纂委員会.

Seattle: Seattle Art Museum, 1999, 40 – 54. See

1 For three more examples of his work, see our

Bunten, Teiten, Shin Bunten, Nitten zen shuppin

also references in Ellen P. Conant, et al., Nihonga,

2006 publication, item12; the 2007 publication,

mokuroku: Meiji 40-nen--Shōwa 32-nen: Nitten shi

Transcending the Past: Japanese Style Painting,

item17; and the 2009 publication, item16.

the Nihonbashi area.

Nr. 30 Writing Box with the Hundred Kings

shiryō 文展・帝展・新文展・日展全出品目錄: 明治 40

1868 –1968. Saint Louis: The Saint Louis Art Museum

1 See also the 18th century dictionary Wakan

年--昭和 32年: 日展史資料. Tokyo: Nittenshi Hensan

and The Japan Foundation, 1995; and Ōtsu City

sansai zue 和漢三才図絵、which lists the Shishi lion

Iinkai 日展史編纂委員会, 1990, vol. 2, p. 18.

Museum of History 大津市歴史博物館, ed. Shirarezaru

Nr. 23 Tanabe Chikuunsai I

as the »leader of one hundred animals 百獣ノ長.« See: Terashima Ryōan 寺島良安, Wakan sansai zue

Nihon kaiga 知られざる日本絵画 (English title: Unexplored Avenues of Japanese Painting). Seattle and

1 For four other examples of baskets by Chikuunsai II,

和漢三才図絵. 2 vols. Tokyo: Tokyo Bijutsu 東京美術,

Ōtsu: University of Washington Press, Ōtsu City Mu-

see our 2006 publication, items nr. 14 and nr. 15; the

1970, vol. 1, p. 437.

seum of History 大津市歴史博物館, 2001. See also

2007 publication, item 20; and the 2008 publica-

1 Three Daruma portraits from 1914 and 1917 are

Paul Berry and Michiyo Morioka, Literati Modern:

tion, item19.

Nr. 19 Daruma Portrait

2 See the items by Mikami Jisaburō 三上治三郎 and

depicted in: The National Museum of Modern Art,

Bunjinga from Late Edo to Twentieth-Century Japan:

the studio in the recent important catalogue: Tokyo

Kyoto 京都国立近代美術館 and Chikkyō Art Museum,

The Terry Welch Collection at the Honolulu Academy

National Museum for Modern Art 東京国立近代美術館.

Kasaoka 笠岡市立竹喬美術館, eds. Tsuji Kakō Ex-

of Arts. Honolulu: Honolulu Academy of Arts, 2008,

hibition 都路華香展. Kasaoka 笠岡 and Kyoto 京都:

pp. 265 – 6.

The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto 京都 国立近代美術館 and Chikkyō Art Museum, Kasaoka 笠岡市立竹喬美術館, 2006, pp. 96 and 106 – 7

Nr. 20 Hearing Nothing, Seeing Nothing

Nr. 26 Incense Box with Nanten and the Full Moon

Nihon no āru nūvō 1900--1923: kōgei to dezain no shinjidai (Art Nouveau in Japan 1900--1923: The New

1 For information on the Nadina, see: Terashima

Age of Crafts and Design) 日本のアール・ヌーヴォー

Ryōan 寺島良安, Wakan sansai zue 和漢三才図絵.

1900--1923 工芸とデザインの新時代. Tokyo: Tōkyō

2 vols. Tokyo: Tokyo Bijutsu 東京美術, 1970, vol. 2,

Kokuritsu Kindai Bijutsukan, 2005.

p. 1198. 2 This is a common way to depict the patriarch; see

1 All three seals were used on or around Nantembō’s

for example Daruma paintings by various artists

eighty-fifth year. See Matthew Welch, The Paintings

in: Asai Kyōko 浅井京子, ed. Kyū-Tomioka Bijutiskan

and Calligraphy of the Japanese Zen Priest Tōjū

shozō: Zen shoga mokuroku 旧富岡美術館所蔵・

Zenshū, Alias Nantembō (1839 –1925). PhD disser-

禅書画目録. Tokyo: Waseda University Aizu Yaichi

tation, University of Kansas, 1995, Appendix Two.

Nr. 27 Writing Box with Fans and Autumn Grasses 1 For many fine examples of Genji-related fans, see:

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Index Nr.









Kano School

Roosters and Chicken

Pair of six-panel folding screens. Ink, colors,

Edo Period

H 64 ¾" × W 133 ½"








Sano Kōsui

A Cat in a Melon Patch

Hanging scroll. Ink, colors and gold on silk.

Taishō Period

H 85" × 26"

circa 1925

(216 cm × 65.8 cm)

Taishō Period

H 84 ¾" × 23"

circa 1915

(215 cm × 58.2 cm)

Taishō Period

H 80" × 26 ½"

dated 1923

(203 cm × 67 cm)

Screens 1









in a Bamboo Grove

gofun, gold and gold leaf on paper.

early 17th C

(164.5 cm × 339 cm) each

Tosa Mitsuyoshi

Scenes from the Tales

Six-panel folding screen. Ink, mineral colors,

Momoyama Period

H 63 ½" × W 146 ½"


of Genji

gofun, silver, gold and gold leaf on paper.

early 17th C

(161.3 cm × 372.3 cm)

Unknown artist

Scenes from the Great

Pair of six-panel folidng screens. Ink, mineral

Edo Period

H 49 ¾" × W 117 ½"

Eastern Road

colors, gofun, gold flakes and gold leaf on paper.

circa 1800

(126.5 cm × 298.5 cm) each

Peacock Pair by Cliffs

Two-panel folding screen. Ink, colors, gold and

Meiji Period

H 76 ¾" × W 75 ¾"

gold-leaf on silk.

dated 1907

(195 cm × 192.4 cm)

Pair of six-panel folidng screens. Ink, mineral

Taishō Period

H 69" × W 136 ¼"

Araki Kampo 荒木寛畆



Usumi Kihō 内海輝邦

The Raven and the Peacock

colors, gofun, gold, silver, lacquer and silver leaf

circa 1920






Chinese Landscape

Two-panel folding screen. Ink and colors on

Taishō Period

H 68" × W 74 ¾"

平井 楳仙

with Pagoda



(173 cm × 189.7 cm)

Nakatsuka Issan

Morning Quiet

Two-panel folding screen. Ink, colors and gofun

Shōwa Period

H 70 ½" × W 90"

on silk.


(179.3 cm × 228.6 cm)

Nakatsuka Issan

Flowering Yamabuki





Two-panel folding screen. Ink, colors and gofun

Shōwa Period

H 78 ¼" × W 82"

on silk.

circa 1930

(199 cm × 208 cm)


Sea Gulls by the

Two-panel folding screen. Ink, colors, gofun and

Taishō Period

H 69 ¼" × W 68 ¾"



silver on paper.


(175.8 cm × 174.8 cm)

Tsuji Kakō

Daruma Portrait

Hanging scroll. Ink and colors on paper.




Nakahara Nantembō

Hearing Nothing,


Seeing Nothing

Hanging scroll. Ink on satin.

Bamboo Baskets 21


Hirai Baisen




(175 cm × 346 cm) each

on paper. 6





Yamamoto Chikuryūsai

Boat-Shaped Wide

Ikebana flower basket. Madake bamboo,

Taishō Period

H 15 ¼" × L 20 ¾" × W 11¼"



Hōbichiku bamboo and rattan.

dated 1916

(38.5 cm × 52.5 cm × 28.5 cm)

Maeda Chikubōsai I

Wide-Mouthed Flower

Ikebana flower basket.Madake bamboo,

Shōwa Period

H 19 ½", D 10"

前田竹房斎 初代


Hōbichiku bamboo and rattan.

dated 1942

(49.5 cm, 25.5 cm)

Tanabe Chikuunsai I

Crouching Tiger

Ikebana flower basket. Kinmeichiku bamboo,

Shōwa Period

H 17 ¾", D 10 ¾"

Hōbichiku bamboo and Madake bamboo.


(45 cm, 27cm)

Ikebana flower basket. Hōbichiku smoked

Shōwa Period

H 19", D 10 ¼"

bamboo and rattan.


(48.5 cm, 26 cm)

Ikebana flower basket. Susudake bamboo and

Shōwa Period

H 17" × L 9 ¼" × W 7"


dated 1937

(43.3 cm × 23.5 cm × 18 cm)

Lacquer box

Edo Period

H 1" × L 2 ¾" × W 2 ¾"

18th C

(2.3 cm × 6.8 cm × 6.7 cm)

Meiji Period

H 1½" × L 8" × W 7 ¼"


(4 cm × 20.4 cm × 18.4 cm)

Edo Period

H 2" × L 9" × W 8 ¼"

early 19th C

(4.9cm × 22.8 cm × 21 cm)

Meiji Period

H 4 ¼" × L 8 ¾" × W 7 ¼"


(11 cm × 22 cm × 18.5 cm)

Taishō-Shōwa Periods

H 4 ½" × L 10 ¾" × W 8 ¼"

1920s – 30s

(11.5 cm × 27.5 cm × 21.2 cm)

田辺竹雲斎 初代



Morita Chikuami

Flared Flower Basket





Flower Basket


Lacquers Paintings 10








26 Hakuin Ekaku

The Second Patriarch


Standing in the Snow

Hakuin Ekaku

Tenjin Traveling to



Sengai Gibon

The Hakata Top


Crossing a String

Kishi Chōzen

Fire in Edo

Hanging scroll. Ink on paper.

Hanging scroll. Ink on paper.

Hanging scroll. Ink on silk.

Hanging scroll. Ink and light colors on paper.




Mochizuki Gyokusen


Hanging scroll. Ink and silver on silk.






Hirai Baisen

The Snow of

平井 楳仙

Kamogawa River

Watanabe Shōtei

New Year with Small


Pines and a Pair of

Hanging scroll. Ink, colors and gofun on silk.

Hanging scroll. Ink, color and lacquer on silk.

Edo Period

H 65" × W 15 ¾"

circa 1725

(165 cm × 40 cm)

Edo Period

H 41¼" × 8 ¼"

circa 1760

(104.5 cm × 21.1 cm)

Edo Period

H 49 ½" × 24 ¾"

circa 1820

(126 cm × 62.6 cm)

Edo Period

H 89 ¼" × 29"

circa 1845

(227 cm × 73.7 cm)

Meiji Period

H 92 ¾" × 28 ¼"


(235.5 cm × 71.8 cm)

Taishō Period

H 85" × 22"

dated 1917

(216 cm × 55.8 cm)

Meiji Period

H 75 ½" × 20 ¾"


(192 cm × 52.6 cm)



Incense Box with the Full Moon and Nanten




Writing Box with Fans

Maki-e lacquer box

and Autumn Grasses 28



Writing Box with

Maki-e lacquer box

Books 29




Zōhiko Studio

Tales of Genji Tebako



Mikami Yōkōdō

Writing Box with the


Hundred Kings

Maki-e lacquer box

Maki-e lacquer box

Cranes 17



Tojima Mitsuzane

Set of Three Lacquer

Set of 3 hanging scrolls. Lacquer, light color and

Shōwa Period

H 83 ¼" × 21 ¾"


Paintings with Carps

ink on silk.

dated 1929

(211.5 cm × 55.2 cm) each


Cover: Scenes from the Great Eastern Road Detail, pair of six-panel folding screens (item 3) Edo Period (1615 –1868), circa 1800

Erik Thomsen 2010 Japanese Paintings and Works of Art © 2010 Erik Thomsen Text based on research by Prof. Hans Bjarne Thomsen (item 1– 20, 26 – 30) Photography: Cem Yücetas Design and Production: Valentin Beinroth Printing: Henrich Druck + Medien GmbH, Frankfurt am Main Printed in Germany