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Yamamoto Shurei, Beauties, a hanging scroll painting

 

Height: 1098.000 mm
Width: 472.000 mm

Asia JA JP ADD720 (1982.10-4.01)

    Yamamoto Shurei, Beauties, a hanging scroll painting

    Japan
    Edo period, late 18th century AD

    A young woman is wearing a bright blue kimono with a landscape design around the base, and a sumptuous obi (sash) interwoven with gold thread. Her attendant wears an uwagi (jacket) trimmed at the collar in black, over a blue stencil-patterned gown, with a green striped obi and a reddish-brown apron tied in a bow at the front. She holds a porcelain hi-ire (portable brazier, part of a smoking set) of Mikawachi ware, on which is a design in underglaze blue of the moon over a lake and pavilion, with a poem above. The black pigment visible between the woman's lips suggests she has blackened teeth - indicating her married status. The women's hair is dressed in the Shimada style with tōrōbin (lantern locks).

    Shurei (1751-90) studied under Maruyama ōkyo (1733-95), and was skilled at depicting human figures. This work demonstrates his precise observation and expressive brushwork. The method used to describe the faces, with soft lines, varying ink tones, and a small button mouth, owes much to ōkyo. The use of the U-shape to describe the hollow between the nose and mouth began with ōkyo, and was subsequently adopted by many Maruyama school artists.

    The signature reads 'Shurei ga' ('Painted by Shurei') and the seal reads 'Fujiwara Shurei'.

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

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