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Poetry Gathering at the Lanting Pavilion

Okada Beisanjin Japanese

Not on view

This work depicts Wang Xizhi’s (ca. 303–361) poetry gathering at the Lanting Pavilion, though here Beisanjin arranges the scene in the standard format of a vertical hanging scroll. Seated in the pavilion at the top of the painting is Wang. Oversized Chinese-style rocks protrude into the landscape, and the willows and pines appear overlarge in comparison with the figures. This imaginary world is characteristic of Beisanjin, a literati artist known for his striking designs.

Beisanjin was an Osaka rice merchant who also pursued classical studies. Eventually he was appointed as official Confucian scholar to Lord Tōdō, a daimyō of Ise. Beisanjin studied painting on his own, and his freely conceived work, untied to established models, clearly demonstrates a strong individuality.

Poetry Gathering at the Lanting Pavilion, Okada Beisanjin (Japanese, 1744–1820), Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper, Japan

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