Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

賢江祥啓筆山水図
Landscape with Pavilion

Artist:
Kenkō Shōkei (active ca. 1470–after 1523)
Artist:
Inscribed by Tōgen Zuisen (Japanese, 1430–1480)
Period:
Muromachi period (1392–1573)
Date:
1478–80
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper
Dimensions:
Image: 19 13/16 x 13 13/16 in. (50.3 x 35.1 cm) Entire scroll: 58 5/8 x 19 in. (148.9 x 48.3 cm) Width including rollers: 21 in. (53.3 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Bequest of Stephen Whitney Phoenix, by exchange, 1985
Accession Number:
1985.7
Not on view
賢江祥啓筆山水図
Landscape with Pavilion
Kenkō Shōkei (active ca. 1478 – after 1523)
Inscribed by Tōgen Zuisen (1430-1489)

A Chinese gentleman lounges against the parapet of a remote lakeside pavilion, his gaze captured by a cataract plunging from precipitous peaks far above. The poetic inscription is signed “Shun’u” (“Spring Rain”), one of the sobriquets of Tōgen Zuisen, a prominent Zen monk who returned to Kyoto in 1478 after several years in the countryside. In the final two lines, Tōgen ties the painted image to an ancient Chinese hermit who famously turned down a position at court in favor of spending his days fishing in the Fuchun Mountains near Hangzhou. Tōgen was an acquaintance of the painter, Kenkō Shōkei, a fellow Zen monk from Kamakura who journeyed to the capital in 1478 to study Chinese painting under the shogun’s artistic advisor Geiami. Produced in Kyoto some time before his return to Kamakura in 1480, this landscape may be Shōkei’s earliest extant work.

The Chinese verse reads in four seven-character couplets:
This world, who possesses it?
Tranquil is this place, long separated from the dusty world.
An endless cascade soars as if a flock of egrets,
the surface of a boundless lake ripples like the scales of a fish.
Skiffs float beyond tree tops and thatched eaves,
a screen of spired peaks stands at the clouds’ edge.
Why not share these fishing shallows with a throng of gulls?
Oh how I long to visit Yan Ling at Fuchun!

(trans. Aaron Rio)
Inscription: (left to right)

天下何人藏天下
 悠然長是絶紅塵
千尋飛瀑懸振鷺
 万頃平湖浪皺鱗
樹杪茅檐舟葉々
 雲端欄畔嶂蓁々
釣磯分否白鴎席    
 欲伴嚴陵也冨春 

    春雨題

This world, who possesses it?
Tranquil is this place, long separated from the dusty world.
An endless cascade soars as if a flock of egrets,
the surface of a boundless lake ripples like the scales of a fish.
Skiffs float beyond tree tops and thatched eaves,
a screen of spired peaks stands at the clouds’ edge.
Why not share these fishing shallows with a throng of gulls?
Oh how I long to visit Yan Ling at Fuchun!

Inscribed by Shun’u

(Transcribed and translated by Aaron Rio)

Translator’s note:
In the last line "Yan Ling" may be interpreted either as a person or a place: Yan Ziling (厳子陵), the hermit who fished in a rocky shallows in the Fuchun mountains, and the shallows themselves that came to be (and still are) dubbed the "Yan Ling Shallows" (厳陵瀬).
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