Kanō Tanshin Morimasa, Tao Yuanming, a hanging scroll painting

Early Edo period, late 17th century AD

'Master Five Willows'

Tao Yuanming (365-427) was a Chinese poet of the Eastern Jin dynasty (AD 317-420). He was supposed to have planted willow trees in front of his house, which were tended with great care, and he gave himself the name 'Master Five Willows'. He was also known to love chrysanthemums, the petals of which were steeped in wine to create a potion of longevity. In this painting we see these two passions illustrated.

Tanshin (1653-1718) was the son of Kanō Tan'yū, by his second wife. Tan'yū (1602-74) was the greatest painter of his day and official artist to the shogunal court. He was 52 when Tanshin was born, and the boy received much attention and training, later succeeding his father as head of the Kajibashi branch of the Kanō school.

This work was probably copied from a model by Tan'yū, and although the colouring is light and charming, the indecisiveness of the strokes used to suggest the rock cleft and the uniformity of the chrysanthemum leaves reveals perhaps the immaturity of a young student yet to establish a confident personal style.

The signature reads 'Kanō Tanshin hitsu' ('From the brush of Kanō Tanshin') and the seal reads 'Fujiwara'.

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Kanō Tanshin Morimasa, Tao Yuanming, a hanging scroll painting

  • Detail: signature and seals

    Detail: signature and seals


More information


I. Hirayama and T. Kobayashi (eds.), Hizō Nihon bijutsu taikan-2, vol. 3 (Tokyo, Kodansha, 1993)


Height: 812.000 mm
Width: 508.000 mm

Museum number

Asia JA JP 688 (1913.5-1.0199)


Arthur Morrison Collection
Gift of Sir W. Gwynne-Evans, Bt.


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