Height: 1390.000 mm
Width: 493.000 mm (each)
Gift of Sir W. Gwynne-Evans, Bt.
Asia JA JP 2542-3 (1913.5-1.0556-557)
Kishi Chikudō, Cherry Blossoms on a Spring Evening, a pair of 2-fold screen paintings
Meiji era, around AD 1890
This pair of screens has a unique and interesting composition. The silhouetted returning geese on the right are contrasted with the crow on the left, the sparrow with the white-eye, and the sun with the crescent moon above the mountain top. Both drooping cherry trees and wild cherry trees are depicted, their blossoms being the defining symbol of spring in Japan.
The delicacy and brush quality are like those of the Shijō school, but Chikudō (1826-1897) was a member of the related Gan (Kishi) school, founded by Gan Ku (1756-1838). Both schools employed the tsuketate technique, where the use of a soft, finely tapered wet brush applied directly to the silk support allowed shading and three-dimensionality to be achieved at one and the same time.
Kishi Chikudō first studied painting under Kanō Eigaku (1790-1867). Dissatisfied with this, however, he moved to study with Kishi Renzan (1805-59), whom he later succeeded as head of the school.
On the far right panel and the two panels of the left screen the signatures read 'Chikudō' and the seals the same. The remaining panel has the inscription 'Chikudō Gan Roku sha' ('Painted by Chikudō Gan Roku'), and the seal, 'Gan Roku azana Shiwa'. 'Roku' was part of the artist's original given name, and 'Shiwa' was his azana (informal name).
I. Hirayama and T. Kobayashi (eds.), Hizō Nihon bijutsu taikan, vol. 1 (Tokyo, Kodansha, 1992)