Yokoi Kinkoku, Lakeside village in the mountains, a hanging scroll painting

Edo period, after AD 1809

'Ink mania'

Yokoi Kinkoku (1761-1832) was a painter-priest of the Jodō (Pure Land) sect of Buddhism. He was a true bunjin or 'scholar-painter', skilled in martial arts, calligraphy and poetry, as well as painting. He was also a yamabushii, a member of the mountain-climbing Shugendō sect and spent much of his time on pilgrimages in the mountains.

As a painter Kinkoku may have been a pupil of Yosa Buson (1716-1784) or at least have studied his paintings, as their works show many similarities. However, where Buson might simply suggest the textures of rocks and trees, Kinkoku uses an endless variety of different shapes of brush-stroke to show every leaf and rock cranny. In fact Kinkoku uses a seal that reads Bokuchi, meaning 'ink mania'.

Surrounded by looming mountain crags, a village of stilt houses nestles around the edge of a mountain lake. A traveller in the foreground follows a path that crosses a simple wooden bridge, then snakes along a narrow rock ledge above the lake and disappears off through a pass in the mountains to distant huts. The only other figures in this grand composition are a boatman and a solitary scholar seated contemplating the landscape from the window of one of the huts. The rich texture of the rocks and dense summer foliage has been achieved with a combination of saturated colour washes and lively outlines and dotting in black ink. The white of the paper is used to create a sense of space betweeh each rock formation.

The signature reads 'Hōin Kinkoku sha' ('Painted by Kinkoku of hōin rank'), and the seals read 'Kinkoku' and 'Bokuchi' ('ink mania').

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More information


L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)

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


Length: 1632.000 mm
Width: 853.000 mm

Museum number

Asia JA JP ADD408 (1972.1-24.01)


Brooke Sewell Fund


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