Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Happy Improvisations on a Riverboat Journey

Artist:
Itō Jakuchū (Japanese, 1716–1800)
Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
ca. 1767
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Handscroll; woodblock print; ink on paper
Dimensions:
11 3/16 x 39 ft. 7/16 in. (28.4 x 1189.9 cm)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975
Accession Number:
1975.268.70
Not on view
This scroll records a journey in spring 1767 down the Yodo River from Kyoto to Osaka enjoyed by Jakuchū, one of the most inventive artists of the Edo period, and his friend and mentor Daiten Kenjō (1719–1801), a Zen monk. According to Daiten's inscription at the end of the scroll, the two friends captured the scenery with his own short, impromptu poems and with Jakuchū's impressionistic sketches. Adopting an aesthetic stance honored for centuries among Chinese literati artists, he tells that they worked as the spirit moved them without care for the result. While the image of the river landscape retains the spontaneous quality of the casual sketch, its production in a format that simulated ink rubbings used to take impressions of calligraphic texts carved on stones in China was highly ingenious and
paid homage to the Sinophile taste of Daiten's circle. In his first venture into this unprecedented mode, Jakuchū employed the unusual medium to create the grainy effects of a rock surface in combination with the velvety black and pure white of ink intaglio for a hauntingly lovely effect.
Signature: Two seals of Jakuchu

Inscription: Poems by Taiten Kenjo
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paintings of the Nanga School," January 27, 1990–May 13, 1990.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Japanese Textiles," 1991.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Seasonal Pleasures in Japanese Art, Part II," May 1, 1996–September 8, 1996.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Resonant Image: Tradition in Japanese Art (Part Two)," April 27, 1998–September 27, 1998.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sense of Place: Landscape in Japanese Art," May 8, 2002–September 8, 2002.

Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. "Traditions Unbound: Groundbreaking Painters of Eighteenth-Century Kyoto," December 3, 2005–February 26, 2006.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Flowing Streams: Scenes from Japanese Arts and Life," December 21, 2006–June 3, 2007.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Graceful Gestures: Two Decades of Collecting Japanese Art," 2007.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Drama of Eyes and Hands: Sharaku's Portraits of Kabuki Actors," September 20, 2007–March 24, 2008.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Five Thousand Years of Japanese Art: Treasures from the Packard Collection," December 17, 2009–June 10, 2010.

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