Height: 1310.000 mm
Width: 533.000 mm
Brooke Sewell Fund
Asia JA JP ADD387 (1966.7-25.013)
Kei Shōkei (attributed to), Mountain landscape, a hanging scroll painting
Muromachi period, 16th century AD
A scroll painting influenced by Chinese examples
The artist of this painting is not known, though comparison with other signed paintings suggest it is the work of the Zen monk-painters, Kei Shōkei, who had a characteristically crisp style. Shōkei was one of the most important painters in Kamakura during the Muromachi period (1185-1333).
The painting shows the influence of Chinese painting of the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279), as interpreted in Japan by the priest-painter Shūbun. Regarded as one of the leading painters of his time, Shūbun perfected fifteenth-century Japanese Zen ink-painting. Following the Southern Song tradition, the space is divided into three planes. In the foreground, figures move along a embankment lined with willow trees. Across the river, a zigzag path leads to the middle plane with a temple gate, and higher still, the temple itself with its five-storey pagoda. This echoes the pines and finally the mountain peaks in the distant third plane with its pale blue wash. The eye is led through the space not only by the paths but also by the strong diagonal lines of the composition.
L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)
I. Hirayama and T. Kobayashi (eds.), Hizō Nihon bijutsu taikan-2, vol. 3 (Tokyo, Kodansha, 1993)