Height: 1055.000 mm
Width: 385.000 mm
Gift of Sir W. Gwynne-Evans, Bt.
Asia JA JP 2500 (1913.5-1.0531)
Mori Sosen, Monkeys, a hanging scroll painting
Edo period, AD 1795-1801
Mori Sosen (?1747-1821) is most famous for his paintings of monkeys. In about 1808, at the age of sixty-one, he even changed the first character of his name to one meaning 'monkey'. He also founded a school of animal painting with his brother Shūhō, in Osaka, which parallelled the Maruyama school in Kyoto. Shūhō's son, Tetsuzan went to Kyoto and studied under Maruyama ōkyo (1733-95), and there was considerable interchange between the two schools.
A mother monkey and her baby sit together on a rock beside a blueberry bush. The mother is examining a single fruit that she has just picked, while the young one looks on. The painting shows clearly Sosen's mastery of the depiction of animals. His technical skill is evident: he suggests the soft texture of the animals' coats by meticulously brushing in each individual hair over a background wash. He has also captured the animals' characteristic attitudes and movements with great subtlety and skill.
The signature reads 'Sosen' and the seals read 'Mori Shushō, and 'Sosen'.
L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)
, Hakubutsukan shozō Nihon-Ch (Tokyo National Museum, 1987)
I. Hirayama and T. Kobayashi (eds.), Hizō Nihon bijutsu taikan-2, vol. 3 (Tokyo, Kodansha, 1993)