The eighteenth-century painter Soga Shōhaku developed a distinctive style that led to his being labeled an eccentric. Whereas other artists sought to join well-known schools of painting, Shōhaku named as his mentor a monk who was also a painter, Soga Jasoku (a.k.a. Dasoku), who had been dead for three hundred years. Like his distant adopted predecessor, Shōhaku drew on Song-dynasty Chinese landscape painting styles, as seen in this painting with its asymmetrical composition and large areas of empty space. Although this example is relatively conservative in style, some of the artist’s eccentricities can be discerned in his treatment of the rocky overhang at the center and in the strong contrasts of dark and light ink.
Hanging scroll, Ink on paper
83 5/8 x 26 15/16 in. (212.4 x 68.4 cm)
Image: 54 3/4 x 21 7/8 in. (139.1 x 55.6 cm) (show scale)
Artist's Seals: three square intaglio seals, red ink
1) ……… (Not yet read)
Signature: Dasokuken Shohaku (black ink, upper right)
Gift of the Asian Art Council in memory of Council Member Barbara Young
River scene with a fishing boat in the foreground and two literati walking up a broad path, with an attendant holding a single scroll, toward a compound of a mountain retreat of a gentleman who stand in an open yard. He is identified by the black cap he wears and his long robes.
He is attended by three men. In the distance there is an idyllic scene of a fisherman and a rider and donkey crossing a bridge spanning the river, and a distant temple on the shoreline of a mountain. In the far distance, there are four sail boats and flocks of geese ascending.
Authenticated by Tsuji Nobuo.
Mount consists of tan and white brocade with repeated gold quatrefoil pattern strips at top and bottom of image with tan and green brocade outer border and thin light blue silk inner border. Ivory scroll ends. Arrived with its own wood box, and old covers with inscriptions: "Meiji 35 (1902): Gift of Baron Kuki Takakazu." "Owned by Tanaka Gentaro."
Condition: Intact. Mount is in very good condition. Image is in good condition. There is extensive painting overall and abrasion and loss throughout especially at top section (3in.). Some wear at the edges of paper.
Label copy: In this painting, we view a distant retreat-possibly a Buddhist temple-in a remote reverie landscape. The scene is common to ink paintings of the Muromachi period (1392-1568) from which the artist Soga Shohaku drew his inspiration. The Composition is characteristic of those older landscapes, combining strong asymmetry, evocative empty spaces, deep recession, and a high vantage point. Yet the painting is very much a product of the eighteenth century with marked ink tones. Shohaku chose the surname soga out of respect for an important monk-painter of Daitokuji, the Zen monastery in Kyoto, Soga Dasoku (died 1483), whose style served as the basis for the informal lineage of ink painters through the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Shohaku attempted to affiliate himself with that line, incorporating Dasoku's name in signature and seals, as this landscape painting, where the signature reads Dasokuken Shohaku.
This item is not on view
Soga Shohaku (Japanese, 1730-1781). River Landscape, circa 1760-80. Hanging scroll, Ink on paper, 83 5/8 x 26 15/16 in. (212.4 x 68.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Asian Art Council in memory of Council Member Barbara Young, 1998.39 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1998.39_IMLS_SL2.jpg)
overall, 1998.39_IMLS_SL2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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