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Tsubaki Chinzan, Bird and Flowers, a hanging scroll painting


Height: 273.000 mm
Width: 194.000 mm

Asia JA JP ADD606 (1979.10-8.036)

    Tsubaki Chinzan, Bird and Flowers, a hanging scroll painting

    Edo period, AD 1826

    Copying a painting by a Chinese emperor

    This painting is copied directly from one by Huizong (Japanese: Kisō, reigned 1101-25), a Chinese emperor of the Song dynasty (960-1279). He was a serious and talented artist, and was known as the 'governor of taste'. He was highly regarded in Japan, and became the model for many high ranking samurai painters. It is likely that Chinzan painted this as an exercise in learning Huizong's style. In it, the hawthorn branch seems to be bending under the weight of the starling alighted on it. The severity and sharpness of the original is faithfully observed.

    Tsubaki Chinzan (1801-54) was the second son of a samurai, which gave him the chance to acquire many skills, such as swordsmanship, horse-riding, music, as well as painting. He trained under the Edo Nanga painters Tani Bunchō and Watanabe Kazan, but was also attracted by the naturalistic techniques of Chinese literati artists of the late Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Both Chinzan's son and grandson became kachōga (bird-and-flower painting) artists after him.

    The signature and inscription translates as 'Chinzan Hei Hitsu; in the kōroku method [using sharp outlines] of Huizong of the Song, 9th month 1826'. The seal beneath it reads 'Hitsu', Chinzan's imina (the formal version of his real name), and that to the left reads 'Moko' ('copying the old').

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


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