Jim Knopf Yokohama

Tomita Keisen | Orchid Pavilion


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Directory: Vintage Arts: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Paintings: Pre 1930: Item # 1341545

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Guest Book
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In China the annual Spring Purification Festival
was held on the third day of the third month. In
353 Wang Xishi (Jap.: Ou Gishi, 321-379) invited
forty-one scholar-poets to engage in poetry and
drinking while seated along the bank of a winding
brook. Wang arranged for servants to float cups
of wine down the stream, and those guests who had
not yet written a poem before a cup had passed by
were required to drink a penalty cup. From this
event Wang assembled the poems of his friends and
wrote his famous “Preface to the Orchid Pavilion
Compilation” (Jap.: Ranteishuujo), a melancholy
discourse on the meaning of life. The theme was
very popular in Chinese painting, and became
revered by the Japanese. According to both the
Nihonshoki and archaeological remains, a
meandering stream built of stones was constructed
in the southeast corner of the 8th century
Heijoukyuu, probably so that aristocrats could re-
enact the meandering stream party kyokusui-no-en.
Such re-enactments continue today at various
locations. For sinophile Japanese painters the
theme was symbolic of refined scholarly pleasure.
Paintings of rantei kyokusui typically feature a
number of scholars seated beside a twisting
stream. Notable paintings include works by Kanou
Sansetsu (1589/90-1651), Nakayama Kouyou (1717-80)
and Yosa Buson (1716-84)
[http://www.aisf.or.jp/~jaanus/deta/r/ranteikyokusui.htm]

The title on the painting reads "The Sky is Bright
the Air is Clear". This sentence is taken from the
preface to the Ranteishuujo (see above). The
painting is dated to February 1925 (Taisho 14),
Setsubun day. Setsubun is held on the third day
of February.


The inscription on the original box (tomobako)
reads: Depiction of the Orichid Pavilion
floating cups (rantei ryusho). The inscription is
dated 1927.

Tomita Keisen (1879-1936) | Orchid Pavilion Ink and color on paper Original box (tomobako)