Charles Stewart Smith Collection, Gift of Mrs. Charles Stewart Smith, Charles Stewart Smith Jr., and Howard Caswell Smith, in memory of Charles Stewart Smith, 1914
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 226
The two landscape paintings of summer and winter scenes seen here (14.76.26, .28) were signed by Tan'yū at age sixty-one, while the central panel (14.76.27), an imaginary portrait of Shennong, the legendary Chinese god of agriculture and medicine, was signed by the same artist at age sixty-four. Clearly, the pair of landscapes and the portrait were combined into a triptych sometime after their execution, conforming to a longstanding Japanese custom that favored the format.
The landscapes, markedly asymmetrical in keeping with the Chinese Southern Song tradition, also follow the popular Muromachi-period formula for landscapes: the summer scene is marked by a tall waterfall with a gushing stream, while its companion is enveloped in the silence of winter snow, with a solitary traveler and a single pennant denoting a wine shop as the sole signs of human presence.
Inscription: Gionen 61 sai Tanyu Hoin hitsu (painted by Tanyu of Hoin rank at the age of 61 (1662)