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曽我蕭白筆 寿老人図
The God of Good Fortune Jurōjin

Soga Shōhaku (Japanese, 1730–1781)
Edo period (1615–1868)
mid- to late 18th century
Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper
Image: 52 3/4 x 22 5/16 in. (134 x 56.7 cm) Overall with mounting: 81 1/2 x 28 1/2 in. (207 x 72.4 cm) Overall with knobs: 81 1/2 x 30 3/4 in. (207 x 78.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Fishbein-Bender Collection, Gift of T. Richard Fishbein and Estelle P. Bender, 2011
Accession Number:
Not on view
Jurōjin, one of the seven Japanese gods of good fortune, is seated in small boat with a white deer, his frequent companion. To compound the felicitous imagery, Jurōjin hoists a small minogame (straw-raincoat turtle) into the boat, and above the sagely figure soars a crane, also a symbol of longevity. The “mantle” of the turtle is formed from seaweed, and attests to how long the amphibious animal has lived. Jurōjin’s forehead is traditionally depicted as overly large or elongated, emblematic of his wisdom. The god of good fortune is shown in a more animated and humorous manner than usual. The accenting of his mouth and lips with bright red, a color associated with the budding of flowers in spring in Japan, adds to the celebratory effect of this work, no doubt made for the New Year. The plum blossoms and bamboo in the background are frequently featured in such works. The strong and vibrant ink brushwork used to delineate the forms of the tree and stones, including Chinese “axe-cut” strokes, are characteristic of Shōhaku’s work at the peak of his powers.
Signature: Signature: Shōhaku ga; seals: Kiichi


Marking: 輝一
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