Meeting between Emperor Wen and Fisherman Lü Shang
Attributed to Kano Takanobu (Japanese, 1571–1618)
Momoyama period (1573–1615)
Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gold on gilded paper
Image (each screen): 66 7/16 x 149 1/2 in. (168.8 x 379.7 cm)
Purchase, Gift of Mrs. Russell Sage, Bequest of Stephen Whitney Phoenix, and other gifts, bequests and funds from various donors, by exchange, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and Rogers, Fletcher, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, 2006
Not on view
The man in white at the head of the group on the right screen is Emperor Wen of ancient China's Zhou dynasty (ca. 1050–256 B.C.). He is accompanied by a retinue of ten attendants. His carriage stands at the extreme right while the group progresses toward the lone fisherman Lü Shang, represented on the left screen. Before setting out on a hunting trip, the emperor had a revelation that he would meet a "wise man," who turned out to be the impoverished Lü Shang, known in Japan as Taikō bō. The fisherman agreed to be the emperor's counselor and helped to establish the exalted Zhou dynasty.
Sumptuous gold leaf covers the ground and sky, pierced by an undulating band of brilliant azure that signifies the Wei River, where the two men met. Rising and descending mists are scallop-edged, and decorative clouds embossed with abstract designs further enrich the screens' surface.
The tall, regal figures with expressive faces, especially their fish-shaped eyes, are reminiscent of those in signed and/or sealed works by Kano Takanobu, the second son of the virtuoso Momoyama master Eitoku. Only two or three works with his signature or seal are known today.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sensitivity to the Seasons: Spring and Summer," December 17, 2005–June 4, 2006.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sensitivity to the Seasons: Autumn and Winter," June 22, 2006–September 10, 2006.
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. "Japanese Mandalas: Emanations and Avatars," June 18, 2009–November 30, 2009.
Artist: Kano Chikanobu (Japanese, 1660–1728)Date: 17th–18th centuryMedium: One of a pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gilt on paper; Reverse side: ink, color, and gold on paperAccession: 29.100.498On view in:Gallery 225