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Okamoto Toyohiko, Mountain Village, a 2-fold screen painting

  • Detail: signature and seals

    Detail: signature and seals

  • Detail: signature and seals

    Detail: signature and seals

 

Height: 1230.000 mm
Width: 536.000 mm

Asia JA JP ADD402 (1970.6-1.01)

    Okamoto Toyohiko, Mountain Village, a 2-fold screen painting

    Japan
    Late Edo period, 19th century AD

    Toyohiko has conjured up this view of an isolated village high in the mountains with an economical use of ink brushstrokes, and only the lightest touches of colour. On the right a couple climb a steep path, the man in front turning momentarily back towards the viewer. They carry large bundles of firewood, perhaps in preparation for the long winter ahead. The scene continues to the left with the snow-laden houses of the village.

    Toyohiko (1773-1845) was a major pupil of Go Shun (1752-1811), the founder of the Shijō school., with a particular aptitude for landscapes. His approach is apparent here - he rejects a grand, sweeping view of nature, and instead focuses on discrete impressions, infusing them with lyricism. On the memorial stone erected after his death it is written that the true value of his paintings lies not in their surface expression, but rather in their inner spirit.

    Artists of the Shijō school did not often inscribe dates on their works, but from the style this seems to be a later work. The signatures on both panels read 'Toyohiko', and the seals read 'Toyohiko' and 'Shigen', the latter being the artist's azana (informal name).

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

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