Petrie-Rogers Gallery - Japanese Woodblock Prints

Japanese Taisho Nanga School Screen Painting Sakuma Tetsuen 1921

Japanese Taisho Nanga School Screen Painting Sakuma Tetsuen 1921

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Directory: Hidden: Pre 1930: Item # 1302511
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Japanese Taisho period two-panel screen inscribed and signed by Sakuma Tetsuen (1850-1921), also known as Sakuma Kenju. The screen is executed in sumi ink and pale watercolor on paper with a scene of figures in a pavilion, at a gate, and arriving by ship in a harbor. The scene is set in a mountainous landscape featuring beautiful cypress trees. The inscription contains the last two lines of a famous poem by the Chinese Tang dynasty poet Du Fu:

Two golden orioles sing in the green willows,
A row of white egrets against the blue sky,
The window frames the western hills' snow of a thousand autumns,
At the door is moored, from eastern Wu, a boat of ten thousand li.

Also included in the inscription is the date of spring 1921 in Chinese cycle years. Each panel measures 37" wide by 67" high. An artist from Oita prefecture in Southern Japan, Sakuma Tetsuen belonged to the Chinese-influenced Nanga ("Southern school") of literati ("bunjin") painters. He is known to have written several books in the Japanese language on Chinese painting. This screen is from the collection of Harutami and Michi Ajiki. According to the Ajikis, this screen was painted by the artist for Michi Ajiki's grandfather while he was staying at the family home. Very good overall condition. There are a few old repairs that were well executed in Japan (see close up images). Each panel bears evidence that they were once mounted as sliding door panels. The back has a few minor punctures and the burnt red lacquer frame shows some typical wear to the lacquer.