Lacquer Paintings of Various Subjects: Drum for Gagaku Dance
Shibata Zeshin (Japanese, 1807–1891)
Meiji period (1868–1912)
Lacquer on paper
7 1/2 x 6 1/2 in. (19.1 x 16.5 cm)
The Howard Mansfield Collection, Purchase, Rogers Fund, 1936
Not on view
The strong color effect seen in this album is achieved by using lacquer as a painting medium. Painting with lacquer on paper was one of the techniques Zeshin developed into his own style. Despite the heavy material, Zeshin's skillful brushwork and his technical inventions with the material made it possible to create various textures as with ink painting. In addition, some lacquer techniques, like mother-of-pearl inlays and the creation of rough surfaces, are also used. Up until the middle of the Meiji period, lacquer was limited to roughly five colors—black, brown, vermillion, green, and yellow—which determined the color palette of Zeshin's lacquer paintings.
Marking: Seal: Koma
Howard Mansfield , New York (until 1936; sold to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts of Japan," August 19, 2000–February 5, 2001.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Animals, Birds, Insects, and Marine Life in Japanese Art," June 26, 2008–November 30, 2008.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Japanese Mandalas: Emanations and Avatars," June 18, 2009–November 30, 2009.