Japanese Antiques by Ichiban Oriental and Asian Art

A Japanese Watercolor of a Daimyo Arriving â 18th Cty.

A Japanese Watercolor of a Daimyo Arriving – 18th Cty.

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Directory: Hidden: Viewable: Pre 1837 VR: Item # 962928

Please refer to our stock # PRgg when inquiring.
This is a superb watercolor of an important personage arriving in a Palanquin and being greeted by a group of samurai and attendants. It is clear that one of the attendants is holding the reins of a magnificent black stallion on which the personage is to ride. The person in the palanquin must have been either a Daimyo (*1) or even a Shogun(*2) to rate such a reception.

The piece is done in fine detail with still vibrant watercolors. There are some slight wrinkles under the framed glass, but overall the painting is in excellent condition. It has not been examined out of the frame. The frame measures 17” by 15” – and the watercolor image is 8 ½” by 7 ¼”. The frame is a plain black frame with a tan silk mat that sets off the picture’s vivid detail. We date the watercolor to the late 18th century, circa 1770s-1790s. It is executed in the style known as the Shunsui school of painting. Miyagawa Shunsui, 1740-60s, was a Japanese painter and print-maker in the ukiyo-e style.

*1 -The Daimyo's were the Samurai lords of Japan. During the long Tokugawa Shogunate (1616 - 1867), Japan was divided into fiefs which were presided over by feudal lords known as daimyo (dime-yo)- which literally translated means, "great name". The daimyo were divided into two groups based on their relationship with Iwyasu Tokugawa, the founder of Japan's last great feudal house. There were three ranks of daimyo, depending on the revenues of their fiefs and whether or not they owned a castle.

The Tokugawa Shogunate gave the daimyo 13 articles of law called Buke-Shohatto to follow. These articles controlled such matters as castle repairs, road repairs, and marriage. The first two articles ordered the samurai to devote themselves to literature and arms and to refrain from debauchery. Articles 3-5 covered how the daimyo were to govern their fiefs. Articles 6-8 prohibited conspiracies or other activities by the daimyo against the shogunate. Articles 9-11 prescribed the clothing that each class was to wear, the vehicles that each could use, and the manners appropriate to each class. The last two articles, 12-13, called for the samurai to live in a frugal manner and for the daimyo to promote retainers on the basis of merit.

Thus the daimyo were responsible to the Tokugawa Shogunate for upholding the policies of the central government and were restricted in matters having to do with the security of the shogunate. The daimyo were privileged to exercise absolute power in most areas within their domains - particularly the lives and fortunes of their subjects - but they were controlled in all areas of national interest by the laws of the shogun and could be removed by the shogunate government.

*2 - The term Shogun ("Commander of the Forces") is a military rank and historical title for Hereditary Commanders in Chief of the Armed Forces of Japan.[ The modern rank is equivalent to a Generalissimo. As a title, it is the short form of seii taishōgun, the governing individual at various times in the history of Japan, ending when Tokugawa Yoshinobu relinquished the office to the Meiji Emperor in 1867.