Height: 1360.000 mm
Width: 2648.000 mm
Gift of Mr K. Kishimoto
Asia JA JP ADD880 (1988.10-18.01)
Mori Shūhō, Horses, a 4-fold screen painting
Edo period, late 18th century AD
Mori Shūhō (1738-1823) was an artist from Osaka who first studied painting with Yoshimura Shūzan (1700-73), an artist of the Kanō school. Later he worked under Tsukioka Settei (1726-86), a prolific artist who was also trained in the Kanō style. Although he has since been overshadowed by the activities of his younger brother Mori Sosen, Shūhō attained the titles of hokkyō ('Bridge of the Law') and hōgen ('Eye of the Law') and was popular with merchant patrons of Osaka.
By the late eighteenth century, much Kanō painting was becoming rather conservative and heavy in style and many Kanō-trained painters moved into other schools or became independent machi-eshi ('town painters'). However, Shūhō remained largely within the tradition, using the best aspects of this ink-painting method in a fresh and lively manner.
In this light-hearted screen, he takes a favourite Kanō subject, galloping horses, which itself was derived from Chinese originals. He places the ten horses across the screen with a sure eye for balance and movement and the minimum of swift and lively brush-strokes.
The signature reads 'Hokkyō Shūhō Takanobu hitsu' ('From the brush of Shūhō Takanobu of hokkyō rank'), and the seals read 'Shūhō betsugō Shūsai' ('Shūhō artname Shūsai') and 'Mori-shi Buntai' ('Mori family, Buntai').
L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)