Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Chinese Portrait Painter

Artist:
Miwa Zaiei (died 1789)
Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
18th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Two-panel folding screen; ink, color, and gold on paper
Dimensions:
40 x 49 1/4 in. (101.6 x 125.1 cm)
Classification:
Screens
Credit Line:
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Accession Number:
29.100.528
Not on view
A Chinese painter dressed in the style of the Tang dynasty (618–907) is painting a small portrait of a beautiful lady who stands in front of him adjusting her hair. The small painting-within-a-painting faithfully replicates the lady's face. The screen painting itself is a testament to the sometimes conflicting ideals held by eighteenth-century Japanese artists. Although nothing is known about the background of the artist, named Miwa Zaiei, except that he lived and worked in the city of Edo, he must have been affected by the concept of Western realism, which had become fashionable in eighteenth-century Japanese art and prompted him to portray the painter in the act of painting his subject in the flesh. Ironically, however, Zaiei still felt compelled to follow the traditional practice of creating an imaginary setting from ancient China for his image of presumably "real" life.
Signature: Miwa Zai'ei hitsu
Seal: Zai'ei
Related Objects

Goose and Reeds; Willows and Moon

Artist: Maruyama Ōkyo (Japanese, 1733–1795) Date: right screen: 1774; left screen: 1793 Medium: Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color and gold on paper Accession: 2015.300.197.1, .2 On view in:Not on view

Rough Waves

Artist: Ogata Kōrin (Japanese, 1658–1716) Date: ca. 1704–9 Medium: Two-panel folding screen; ink, color, and gold leaf on paper Accession: 26.117 On view in:Not on view

Willows and Bridge

Date: early 17th century Medium: Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, copper, gold, and gold leaf on paper Accession: 2015.300.105.1, .2 On view in:Not on view

“Takebun,” from the Musical Drama “The New Piece” (“Shinkyoku”)

Date: early 17th century Medium: Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, gold and silver leaf on paper Accession: 2015.300.104.1, .2 On view in:Not on view

Jinshan Island and West Lake

Artist: Kano Sanraku (Japanese, 1559–1635) Date: 1630 Medium: Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gold on paper Accession: 2015.300.74.1, .2 On view in:Gallery 225