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|Japan, 17th century. Edo period|
A pair of six-fold paper screens painted in ink on a buff ground with rocks and waves amongst gold clouds.
The inspiration for this pair of screens comes from a set of twelve scrolls (originally fusuma (sliding doors) and wall panels, six of which are illustrated in Hasegawa Tōhaku: 400th Memorial Retrospective, pp. 156/157, pl. 46.) These scrolls are designated an Important Cultural Treasure, Zenrin-ji temple, Kyoto.
|Location of Origin: Japan|
|Medium/Materials: paper, ink|
|Dimensions: H. 70½” x W. 149½” (179cm x 380cm)|
|Primary Classification: Asian Art : Japanese Antiques|
|Eight of the set of twelve scrolls are also illustrated in: Momoyama. La Edad de Oro del Arte Japonés (1573-1615), pp. 218-219, no. 65.|
For an almost identical pair of screens attributed to Hasegawa Tōgaku (d. 1623) see: Giappone Potere E Splendore 1568-1868, pp. 172-175, pl. IV.5. Private collection, U.S.A.
To the best of my knowledge the only other extant example is currently in the collection of the Idemitsu Museum bearing the inscription: Sesshū Yori godai Hasegawa hōgen Tōhaku hitsu (I myself claim to be the fifth generation of Sesshū, painted by Hasegawa Tōhaku with the title of hōgen) with the seals of Hasegawa and Tōhaku, and can be seen in: Japanese Design in Art, no. 12, Sceneries and Landscapes, p. 95, pl. 91.
The Hasegawa school was founded by Hasegawa Tōhaku (1539-1610) in the late 16th century. Despite being small, consisting mostly of Tōhaku, his sons and sons-in-law, it is known today as one of the most influential artistic groups of the period. Its members conserved Tōhaku's quiet and reserved aesthetic, which many attribute to the influence of Sesshū Tōyō (1420-1506) as well as his contemporary and friend, Sen no Rikyū (1522-1591).
Tōhaku's most noted contemporary, Kanō Eitoku (1543-1590) often competed with Tōhaku for the patronage of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598). After Eitoku's death in 1590, Tōhaku stood alone as the greatest living master of his time, becoming an official painter for Hideyoshi and producing some of his greatest and most elegant paintings. He and his atelier produced the wall and screen paintings in Shoun-ji temple commissioned by Hideyoshi in 1593, later moved to Chishaku-in Temple, Kyoto.
According to Tōhaku gasetsu, a contemporary account of Tōhaku, his interest in painting waves was inspired by the words of Tang-dynasty poet Du Fu when writing about the contemporary painter Wang Zai "Five days to paint a rock, ten days to paint a drop of water." It is also recorded in Tōhaku gasetsu that Tōhaku possessed a copy of a pair of screens of waves which were owned by Hosokawa Nariyuki, patron of the famous painter Tōshun (fl. 1506-1542).
At the age of 67 Tōhaku was summoned to Edo and granted the priestly title of hōgen by the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu and remained in the capital for the rest of his life.
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121 Mount Vernon, Boston, MA 02108 USA
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