The hollyhocks and lilies of midsummer blooming in the right scroll are countered in the left by flowers of late summer and autumn—cotton roses, chrysanthemums, and eulalia grass. The profusion of detail is characteristic of the art of Shikibu Terutada, a prolific painter active in the Kantō region of eastern Japan. Although his many extant works reveal a familiarity with Kano-school styles and compositions, Terutada is thought to have begun his career emulating the style of Kenkō Shōkei (active before 1478–ca. 1523), the central figure of painting circles in late medieval Kantō. The pair of black-backed wagtails flying at the upper right and the oriole standing sentinel at the left, for example, are identical to motifs found in paintings by Shōkei and his numerous followers.
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Title:Birds and Flowers of Summer and Autumn
Artist:Shikibu Terutada (Japanese, active mid–16th century)
Period:Muromachi period (1392–1573)
Medium:Pair of hanging scrolls; ink and color on paper
Dimensions:Image (a): 37 11/16 × 17 5/8 in. (95.8 × 44.8 cm) Overall with mounting (a): 74 7/16 × 23 3/8 in. (189 × 59.3 cm) Overall with knobs (a): 74 7/16 × 25 3/16 in. (189 × 64 cm) Image (b): 37 11/16 × 17 5/8 in. (95.8 × 44.8 cm) Overall with mounting (b): 74 5/8 × 23 3/8 in. (189.5 × 59.3 cm) Overall with knobs (b): 74 5/8 × 25 3/16 in. (189.5 × 64 cm)
Credit Line:Mary Griggs Burke Collection, Gift of the Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation, 2015
Accession Number:2015.300.64a, b
Like many other masters of the Muromachi period, the painter of this polychrome diptych has long been incorrectly identified or confused with other artists, and the difficulty of deciphering his seals has even prevented agreement on his name. Until recently, he was referred to as Shikibu Ryūkyō. Today, however, he is generally known as Shikibu Terutada.
The confusion over his identity is surprising, given that he often impressed two seals on even very small works, such as fan-shaped paintings, and that his fairly large oeuvre includes four pairs of folding screens as well as hanging scrolls and fans in both polychrome and ink monochrome. The following account of his life owes a great deal to the research of Yamashita Yūji.
At present, only two works by the artist have yielded clues for the dating of his career. The first is a set of eight hanging scrolls with eight views of Mount Fuji, one of which bears an inscription written by the monk Jōan Ryūsū, who died in 1536. The other is Li Bo Viewing a Waterfall, in the Nezu Institute of Fine Arts, Tokyo, which bears an inscription by the monk Keikin Genkō, who is believed to have died in the southern part of the Kanto region in 1575. Shikibu's life span thus probably extended from the middle to the latter part of the sixteenth century.
The artist's identity was confused as early as the late seventeenth century, when the painter Kano Ikkei (1599–1662), who wrote the first known book of biographies of Japanese painters, the Tansei jakubokushū, deciphered one of Shikibu's seals as "Ryūkyō" and identified it as an artistic name used by Kenko Shōkei (cat. no. 52), an artist who worked at Kenchōji, Kamakura. More than a century and a half later, Hiyama Tansai (1774–1842), in his Kōchō meiga shui (Selected Masterpieces of Japanese Painting), of 1819, determined that the name "Ryūkyō" belonged to yet another painter in Kamakura, Chūan Shinkō (fl. ca. 1444–57), who is believed to have been Shōkei's teacher. It was only in 1905, in the Koga bikō (Notes on Old Painters), that "Ryūkyō" was finally recognized as an independent artist, and his two seals were read as "Terutada" and "Shikibu.; Nevertheless, this new reading has not been universally accepted and disputes over Shikibu's names and the larger question of his artistic identity persist.
Despite confusion over the seals, there has long been general agreement that Shikibu's art is closely connected with the Kamakura region in eastern Japan, and with Shōkei in particular. Yet Shikibu's paintings also reveal stylistic traits that set them apart from the more insular style of other Kamakura-based artists. Stylistic connections have also been noted between works by Shikibu and those of another rather obscure artist who used a seal reading "Uto Gyoshi" (cat. no. 60). Uto Gyoshi is believed to have been a student of Kano Motonobu and to have come from Odawara, near Kamakura, where this Kano master's painting style had a loyal following. Motonobu's pupils in Odawara are sometimes referred to as the Odawara Kano School, to distinguish them from his pupils in Kyoto. Odawara, now a slumbering provincial town east of better-known Hakone, enjoyed a brief period of cultural effervescence during the sixteenth century, when it served as the seat of the military government ruled by the family that adopted the name of Hōjō. This family is often called Go-Hōjō (the Later Hōjō) to distinguish it from an earlier family of the same name, whose members served as regents to the Minamoto shogunate during the Kamakura period in the thirteenth century. Under the new administration, established in 1495, merchants, craftsmen, and artists poured into Odawara and made it a bustling town.
A succession of Go-Hōjō rulers, who eventually controlled a large part of the Kanto region, showed a strong interest in cultural matters. Zen monks were invited from Daitokuji, Kyoto, and with them came the masters of various arts—chanoyu, renga, waka, and Nō. The Go-Hōjōs were also aggressive collectors of both Japanese and Chinese art, and this no doubt attracted painters such as Sesson, who most likely went to Odawara to study the Chinese paintings in their collection (cat. nos. 67–69). Other painters from the Kyoto area migrated to Odawara as well. Its heyday was brief. In 1590, the castle was attacked by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Hōjō rule collapsed. The art collections of the Hōjōs were subsequently dispersed.
Like so many other painters, Shikibu seems to have found his way to Odawara and Hōjō patronage. His activities, however, may have extended beyond eastern Japan and warrior patronage; one of the paintings of Mount Fuji bears a colophon written by a monk from Kyoto. Shikibu's mature paintings reflect the assimilation of the styles of Kano Motonobu and Kenko Shōkei (cat. nos. 71, 52). This synthesis is best demonstrated in Monkeys on Rocks and Trees, a pair of screens in the Kyoto National Museum that reveal a strong dependence on Motonobu's soft, watery style and the unmistakable residue of the Shōkei style, the combination of which resulted in the formation of Shikibu's own highly idiosyncratic mode.
The right scroll of the Burke diptych depicts red and white hibiscus and a lily, plants of summer whose stalks are gathered in the lower-rjght corner. The groundline is set low, creating an impression of open space beyond, though the tallest stalk in effect negates the sense of distance as it seems to tower above the rhythmically repeated concave profiles of the distant hills. Two jays, soaring high above, heighten the verticality of the composition as they respond to the call of their companion in the scroll at the left. There, hibiscus and late summer flowers thrive—chrysanthemums and eulalia grasses—while a bull-headed shrike perches on a solid, shell-like rock. The sense of density is even stronger in this composition, as the pictorial elements are packed in the lower left. The profusion of detail is a distinct feature of Shikibu's art, one that became even more pronounced in his later, large-scale compositions.
Compositional structure, the negation of distance, and profusion of detail are all stylistic features that reveal Shikibu's close dependence on the work of Shōkei. As in Shōkei's paintings, the rocks are outlined in dark, clearly articulated brushstrokes and the surface has a brittle hardness, the parallel strokes regularly interrupted by short strokes that meet them at right angles. The density of the brushwork and the pronounced concavity of the distant hills also appear in many works by Shōkei's followers from the Kamakura area.
The diptych may have been modeled on the bird-and-flower paintings of Shōkei, such as the one in the Kyoto National Museum. The authoritative shrike is an obvious derivation. Certain technical features, such as the rendering of the leaves and flowers by dark outlines filled in with solid colors, reflect the manner of the Imperial Academy of the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279). This convention may have been adopted by Shōkei when, as a young man, he made copies in Kyoto of the Chinese paintings in the collection of the Ashikaga shogun. The strong ink line eventually became popular among his followers.
Unlike the majority of Shikibu's paintings, the panels of this diptych bear only one seal each. Both read "Shikibu," but they are nearly lost in the densely packed corners of the composition. Shikibu's earliest datable paintings also bear only one seal. His large-scale paintings, screens, and later small paintings are impressed with two seals, "Shikibu" and "Terutada." It is possible that he used the two only in his mature years.
[Miyeko Murase 2000, Bridge of Dreams]
 For works by Shikibu in collections in the United States, see Shimada Shūjirō 1969, vol. 1, pls. 99, 100; and Rosenfield 1979, no. 20.  Yamashita Yūji 1985.  Ibid., figs. 16–21.  Kawai Masatomo 1992, no. 57; see also Yamashita Yūji 1985, fig. 13.  This essay is reprinted in Sakazaki Shizuka 1917, pp. 923-50.  Kōchō meiga shūi, unpublished. See Yamashita Yūji 1985, p. 11.  Asaoka Okisada 1905 (1912 ed.), pp. 795–99.  Yamashita Yūji 1985, p. 23.  For a summary of the Go- Hōjō rule and its art patronage, see Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History 1989.  Yamashita Yūji 1985, p. 23.  Li Bo Viewing a Waterfall bears an inscription written by a monk from Kyoto who died in the Kamakura area, which suggests that Shikibu may have befriended him there, rather than in Kyoto.  M. R. Cunningham et al. 1991, no. 14.  Yamashita Yūji 1985, p. 26.  Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum 1986, pl. 10.  Yamashita Yūji 1985, p. 21
Signature: (lower outside corner of each scroll) square intaglio artist's seal: Shikibu 式部. NB, this seal was historically misread as Ryūkyō 龍杏.
[ S. Yabumoto Co., Ltd. 藪本宗四郎 Japanese, Tokyo, 1983; sold to Longhi]; [ Leighton R. Longhi Inc. , New York, 1983–88; sold to Burke]; Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation , New York (1988–2015; donated to MMA)
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