Important Cultural PropertyLandscape

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  • By Gakuo Zoukyu
  • 1 hanging scroll
  • Ink on paper
  • 69.1x32.7
  • Muromachi period/15th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • A-10136

The author of this piece, Gakuo, is a disciple of Shūbun who made the archetype form of landscape paintings in the Muromachi period. Some of his paintings have praises written by Tenin Ryūtaku and Ryouan Keigo, who are Zen monks of the Gozan (five mountains) school, so Gakuo is considered to be a monk-painter who belonged to a Zen temple of the Gozan school, like Shūbun. This piece presents an idealized Chinese landscape, the same as some other paintings, such as some of Gakuo's other paintings, an alleged Shūbun piece, and Shokei's works, who was also a disciple of Shūbun. The landscapes of this kind were objects of admiration for the Gozan monks at that time. Judging from the way he paints some basic items in the landscape painting, such as rocks and trees, he appears to follow the style of the painter Xia Gui (Jp: Ka Kei, active 1195-1230) in Southern Song, China, whose work was regarded as the best example of landscape painting in his time. In particular, the house on the water's edge is a motif strongly associated with Xia Gui. This painting became an idealized landscape in China by virtue of its connection to Xia Gui's landscapes.
In addition, the figure on the boat appears to be associated with the episode of Shiyuu Houtai (Shiyuu visiting Tai: One snowy night, Shiyuu went to the front of the villa of Tai by boat, but returned without visiting him. When he was asked why he did not, he answered that he went there to visit him because he felt like doing so, and he did not visit him because he did not feel like doing that anymore.). This adds some poetic sentiment to the painting.

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