琴棋書画図襖の内 Appreciation of Painting, from a set of the Four Accomplishments
Momoyama period (1573–1615)
Four of eight panels mounted on sliding-door panels; ink, color, gold, and gold leaf on paper
72 in. × 24 ft. (182.9 × 731.5 cm)
Purchase, Anonymous Gift, in honor of Ambassador and Mrs. Michael Mansfield, 1989
Not on view
These sliding-door panels, which originally ornamented one wall of an abbot’s quarters at Ryōanji in Kyoto, celebrate the life of the literati. The central theme is the appreciation of a painting, one of the Four Accomplishments. The inclusion of what appears to be an imaginary portrait of the Tang-dynasty poet Li Bo (shown at the left as a tipsy old man supported by two attendants) lends an untrammeled air to the scene, making it a place where convention could be broken in the pursuit of a truer art.
The composition and use of space in this work continue the bold innovations of Kano Eitoku (1543–1590). Evidence suggests that this work was created by painters of the Kano studio under the direction of one of Eitoku’s sons, perhaps Kano Kotonobu, who received commissions from the Hosokawa family, patrons of Ryōanji Temple.