Kantei, Landscapes, a pair of hanging scroll paintings

Japan
Muromachi period, 16th century AD

In the right-hand image we see a multi-storeyed building in Chinese style rising above three other roofs, and a solitary figure in a boat on the lake. Two tall pine trees dominate the foreground. In the left-hand image two men approach a pavilion by a lake, on the waters of which sails another boat.

The square seal on each, reading 'Kantei', has been found on a dozen or so paintings - they all exhibit sharp brushwork and economical composition, as seen in the present works. The mountains, cliffs, buildings, and trees here are done using long, thick, 'axe-cut' strokes, with washes fading away to suggest the mist at the base of distant mountains.

Kantei is thought to have been a priest attached to the Tōshōdai-ji temple in Nara during the late Muromachi period (1333-1568), and possibly to have been a disciple of the famous monochrome landscape artist Shūbun (worked about 1414-63). The landscapes here certainly demonstrate the same style, derived from Chinese ink painting. The records of a temple in Nara mention an order for folding screens from 'Kantei' in the sixth month of 1543, and there is a strong possibility these two works were also originally mounted on screens.

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More information

Bibliography

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

Dimensions

Height: 500.000 mm
Width: 317.000 mm

Museum number

Asia JA JP 358-9 (1881.12-10.01135-6)

JCF1017;JCF1018

William Anderson Collection

Location

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