ShippodoShippodo 新古美術七寳堂
Portrait of a Sage by Kano Yosenin Korenobu

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Paintings: Pre 1837 VR: Item # 1140589

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Portrait of a Sage by Kano Yosenin Korenobu

The Kobikicho branch of the Kano school was founded by Kano Naonobu and further popularized by Kano Tsunenobu during the late 18th century. The 7th head of the Kobikicho Kano branch, Yosen’in Korenobu, revived the branch by incorporating Yamato-e styles into the traditional Kano style. Yosen’in, 1753-1808, was a skilled artist from an early age.

This portrait is unusual because it is does not have any Yamato-e elements and subject matter found in most of his works; however, it does retain the conservative Kano school aesthetic in which he was trained. The MFA in Boston, has a similar piece in it’s collection.

The subject matter of the Kano school was very popular with the ruling samurai class, who commissioned many screens, murals, sliding panels, and scrolls as presents that were given to foreign dignitaries throughout Europe and Korea.

The portrait is thought to be either Lao Tzu or Confucius as both are often depicted wearing high ranking robes to commemorate their posthumous contributions to civilization. The robe is like one Confucious typically wears in portraits but the hand gesture, head covering, and face are associated with Daoist sage portraiture. In contrast, a portrait of Confucius would not have any of these elements.

The scroll has been restored in the traditional museum conservation method. It has some patch work where there was insect damage. The mounting brocade is from the early 19th century and may not be the original 18th century mounting. In the mid 20th century, the 19th century mounting brocade was preserved when remounted on a new scroll backing, a laborious task.


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