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Here in Kyoto our gallery is located along the Kamo River in a district known as Shobu-en Machi, which roughly translates as “Iris Town.” As you can imagine, the scene depicted in this painting of irises and cranes is one that can be commonly witnessed in our neighborhood in the spring (May) when these flowers are in full bloom. Close inspection of the painting shows one crane amusing itself in the swirling eddies created by rocks on the river bed, while another lifts its head to admire the fragrant Iris.
Okamoto Shuki (1807 - 1862) was a leading bird-and-flower painter in the final years of the shogunate. He drew primarily on the meticulous Shen Nanpin style, but also studied Chinese Ming-dynasty painting, and the Kano and Maruyama-Shijo schools. The son of a metalworker, Okamoto studied under a number of accomplished painters including Kuwagata Keisai (1764- 1824)—a Kano-style painter in Edo; Onishi Keisai (1773 - 1829)—a Nanga painter from Edo who had studied with Tani Buncho; and Watanabe Kazan (1793-1841).
The top of the box reads: 秋暉 (Artist name) 紋色 (Color) 燕子花 (Iris laevigata) 雙鷺 (2 cranes) 図 (painting). The inside of the box reads: 筆(drawing) 石波 (swirling eddy caused by rocks in a stream) 遊 (playing) 雄鷺 (two cranes). Finally, on the side of the box is a sticker that reads: 岡本 秋暉 (Shuki Okamoto); 杜若 (Iris laevigata) 双鷺 (two cranes) の図 (painting) ; 紙本 着色 (an illustrated scroll of color painting on paper). * Note: 杜若 and 燕子花 both translate as Iris laevigata.
Sumi and color on Japananese paper with a silk border, this hanging scroll is 198 cm tall and 43 cm wide. The artwork on the scroll is 116 cm tall and 30 cm wide. In very good antique condition (with some minor blemishes and discoloration - see photos) and comes with an original certificate box with Okamoto’s signature and seal. Please contact us for higher resolution images should you want a closer look. Fully insured international shipping included in the price.