Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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列子図襖
The Daoist Immortal Liezi

Artist:
Kano School
Period:
Momoyama period (1573–1615)
Date:
ca. 1606
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Set of four sliding-door panels; ink, color, gold, and gold leaf on paper
Dimensions:
Overall: 6 ft. x 24 ft. (182.9 x 731.5 cm)
Classification:
Screens
Credit Line:
Purchase, Anonymous Gift, in honor of Ambassador and Mrs. Michael Mansfield, 1989
Accession Number:
1989.139.1a–d
Not on view
These panels depict Daoist immortal Liezi (Japanese: Resshi), who flies away on a cloud, while awestruck figures discuss his mysterious disappearance. These door panels, or fusuma, originally decorated the west wall in the central room of the abbot’s quarters (hōjō) at Ryōanji, a Zen temple in Kyoto. They are part of a set of forty panels depicting assorted Confucian and Daoist figures that were installed in the three rooms.

Evidence suggests that this work was created by painters of the Kano studio under the direction of a son of Kano Eitoku (1543–1590). One candidate is Kano Kotonobu, Eitoku’s third son, who served as a painter for Ryōanji’s chief patrons, the Hosokawa family, after his father’s death. The screens were dispersed and sold to private collectors in the early twentieth century. While some panels from the central room remain in Japan, panels from the adjoining room have been acquired by the Seattle Art Museum and other collections.
Ryōanji, Kyoto, Japan

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Immortals and Sages: Fusuma Paintings from Ryoan-Ji and the Lore of China in Japanese Art," 1993.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "No Ordinary Mortals: The Human and Not-So-Human Figure in Japanese Art," 1996.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Mighty Kano School: Orthodoxy and Iconoclasm," December 18, 2004–June 5, 2005.

Tokyo National Museum. "Kyoto from Inside and Outside: Scenes on Panels and Folding Screens," October 8, 2013–December 1, 2013.

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