Landscape with Rocky Precipice

Sesson Shūkei Japanese

Not on view

Fluid brushwork and rhythmically repeating forms characterize this imaginary Chinese landscape of mountains, a river bridged by a narrow strip of land, and lively human activity. A cluster of buildings clings to sharply rising cliffs, a forest behind them is shrouded in mist. Passenger boats glide by, travelers—one on a donkey, the others on foot—proceed from the foreground to the steep mountain path. Sesson, one of the great masters of sixteenth-century ink painting, produced varied tones of ink from rich black to pale grey which combine with diagonal brushstrokes to create the texture of rocks and crags and emphasize the peculiar concave shapes at the base of the cliffs.

The painting bears the artist’s signature, and the “Shūkei” seal that he used on his late works.

Landscape with Rocky Precipice, Sesson Shūkei (ca. 1504–ca. 1589), Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper, Japan

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