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A male dancer dressed in massive and splendid Noh attire. The painting is attributed to Iwasa Matabei (1578–1650), a renowned Japanese painter who is often considered originating ukiyo-e genre painting. As is often the case with this artist, these two paintings do not bear his signature or seal, however the depiction of the figures with rich cheeks and long jaws shows typical expression of people of high social rank during medieval periods, which he exaggerated the expression was originated from him. He studied various styles of paintings including Kano school and Tosa school as well as Kaiho Yusho, and established his own painting style. Together with Tawaraya Sotatsu, who was a co-founder of rimpa school of painting, Matabei was recognized as a leading artist of yamato-e paintings depicting people’s life and manner in early Edo period. He had a great influence on development of ukiyo-e paintings during the time. Matabei’s artworks have been collected by numerous art galleries and museums around the world including Tokyo National Museum and the British Museum.
Painted with ink, pigments and textured gold leaf on paper. Such method of applying gold leaves often appeared on high quality paintings. The scrolls also wear quality gold brocade (kinran) with magnificent pattern. The scrolls are accompanied by double paulownia wood storage box with an inscribed artist’s name. The painting and scroll are in good condition, with only tiny insect damages and light marks present due to its great age. This painting comes as a pair.
Painting: 18 5/8” x 45 7/8” (47.0cm x 116.5cm)
Scroll: 24 7/8” x 88 5/8” (63.0cm x 225.0cm)