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Views of Tomogashima, a handscroll painting

 

Height: 275.000 mm
Length: 8640.000 mm

William Anderson Collection

Asia JA JP 2384 (1881.12-10.02361)

    Views of Tomogashima, a handscroll painting

    Japan
    Edo period, AD 1798

    This view is taken from a scroll illustrating the group of islands known as Tomo-ga-shima, located off the coast of Wakayama Prefecture in western Japan. The islands were mentioned by this name in ancient poems, and are known principally as a site used by Buddhist monks to practise mountain asceticism (Shugendō).The Western-influenced low horizon and perspective form a similar style to that used by the Edo painter Tani Bunchō (1763-1840) in the famous handscroll depicting the coastline of Izu and Sagami, which he did to the commission of Senior Councillor Matsudaira Sadanobu in 1793.

    In this view we see the island Torajima to the right, with Kamijima lying in front of Okijima. The scroll continues with views of particular well-known sites on the islands, combining both near and far views in one work. There are labels between each view, and spaces probably intended for brief descriptions. A modern version of the ancient 'blue-and-green landscape style' is used, with distant peaks in dark blue, and closer rocks and slopes in lighter greens. The long preface by Kawai Shunsen (1749-1824) is dated 1798, but does not reveal the artist. Perhaps it was an official painter to the Kii clan who ruled the area. In Shōgoin Temple, Ktyoto, there is another scroll of Tomo-ga-shima dated 1661, by the celebrated artist Kanō Tan'yū (1602-74).

    I. Hirayama and T. Kobayashi (eds.), Hizō Nihon bijutsu taikan-1, vol. 2 (Tokyo, Kodansha, 1992)