Morikawa Sobun, Deer and Pine in the Snow, a pair of 6-fold screen paintings

Japan
Meiji era, around AD 1892

A snowy landscape spreads across the wide expanse of this pair of screens. There is a compositional balance between the massive trunk on the right tied firmly to the ground by its twisting roots and the deer on the left bounding down the hillside, its hooves leaving small prints in the snow.

Morikawa Sobun (1847-1902) was born into a Kyoto merchant family. He began to train as a painter from the age of 20, studying under various masters of the Shijō chool, such as Maekawa Gorei and Hasegawa Gyokuhō. He was sufficiently respected to be chosen as a teacher when the Kyoto Municipal School of Painting was established in 1880.

Sobun had already gained a reputation as a talented painter of deer with a work shown at the International Exhibition of 1893 in Chicago. He developed the same theme in these screens, perhaps influenced by the earlier example of pine trees in the snow by Maruyama ōkyo (1733-95).

The right screen is signed 'Sobun hitsu' ('Painted by Sobun'), and the seals read 'Morikawa Ken in' ('Seal of Morikawa Ken') and 'Go Sobun''. The left screen is signed 'Sobun', with the same seals.

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More information

Bibliography

I. Hirayama and T. Kobayashi (eds.), Hizō Nihon bijutsu taikan, vol. 1 (Tokyo, Kodansha, 1992)

Dimensions

Height: 1665.000 mm (each approx.)
Width: 3740.000 mm (each approx.)

Museum number

Asia JP ADD813-4 (1985.7-20.01-02)

JCF8927

Location

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