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Matsumura Keibun and Shibata Gitō, Geese and Full Moon, a hanging scroll painting

 

Height: 1015.000 mm
Width: 498.000 mm

William Anderson Collection

Asia JA JP 2448 (1881.12-10.02268)

    Matsumura Keibun and Shibata Gitō, Geese and Full Moon, a hanging scroll painting

    Japan
    Late Edo period, early 19th century AD

    A collaboration between two pupils

    This is a joint work by two pupils of Go Shun (1752-1811), the founder of the Shijō school of Kyoto. The geese in flight are by his younger half-brother Keibun (1779-1843), and the full moon is by Gitō (1780-1819), a native of Bizen province in western Japan who came to paint in Kyoto. Geese were a popular theme for paintings in both China and Japan, and were often painted by Shijō artists. Returning geese often travel at night, as depicted here.

    Just below the centre of the scroll to the left, the top half of the moon has been painted using the technique of sotoguma ('outside shading'), leaving the rest shrouded in mist. The two birds fill the upper half of the composition, the male done mainly in shaded ink, and the female in thin ink lines and thick brown pigment. This use of shaded ink tones was a speciality of Go Shun. The work is clearly skilful: the separate elements each dominate their part of the pictorial space to such an extent that the impression is more of a competition between the pupils, rather than a collaboration.

    One signature reads 'Keibun' with the seal 'Keibun no in' ('Seal of Keibun') beneath. The other reads 'Sha tsuki Gitō' ('Moon painted by Gitō'), but the seal is too faint to be read.

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

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