Important Cultural PropertyNight rain over plantain

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  • Inscription by Taihaku Shingen et al
  • 1 hanging scroll
  • Ink on paper
  • 95.9x31.0
  • Muromachi period/Ouei 17 (1410)
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • A-12094

Above the painting, there are praises written by fourteen people consisting of twelve Zen monks of the Gozan School: Taihaku Shingen, Shukuei Souban, Motonaka Masanobu(猷中昌宣), Mubun Banshou(無文梵章), Ishō Tokugan, Kengan Genchū, Ichū Tsūjo, Gakuon Suzo(愕隠慧奯), Keisou Hikosho(敬叟彦軾), Gyokuen Bonpou, Seiin Shunjou, and Genchū Shūgaku, Yamana Tokihiro, military commander, and Ryouju, Korean diplomat. Separate from the hanging scroll, there also are praises by Chūhō Enni and an unidentified author attached to it.
From the late Southern and Northern Court period to the Muromachi period, the production of shigajiku (literally, scroll with poetry and picture), a hanging scroll with a number of Chinese poems and poems and prose on it like this one, thrived in the Gozan School Zen temples. According to the foreword by Taihaku Shingen and the one by Chūhō Enni, a young monk, Ikkai Kenpu (later, the 191st head priest of Nanzen-ji) composed a poem Shuu-u Bashō (literally, Japanese Banana in the Autumn Rain). Then the painting that expresses the feeling of the poem was made, and his companions who had the same taste composed their poems and gave them to him as a gift. The Ouei era, the time when this piece was produced, was the heyday of shigajiku. Among the existing shigajiku, this one is known as one of the masterpieces from the earliest years, with Saimon Shingetsuzu (New Moon Over the Brushwood Gate, Fujita Museum in Osaka) being the only piece older. It is clear that this piece was made at the center of the Shigajiku movement, Nanzen-ji. It is valuable in that respect as well.
The small dots in the foreground and the middle ground are done with the fukizumi technique (blowing pigments through a pipe), represents the rain falling on the bashō leaves. In the middle ground, the main mountain and the trees and grasses on the shore show the influence of Beihou Sansui's style, who belonged to the Toukyo School (name of a school of landscape painting in Yuan) that inherited the styles of Bei Yuijin and Kou Kokukyou.