Fishing in Reclusion

Yasuda Hanpo 安田半圃 Japanese

Not on view

A scholarly figure sits peacefully in a thatched fishing hut built over a stream. He gazes thoughtfully at the fishing rod in his hand while volumes of books rest on a red desk behind him. A servant approaches with a cup of tea through the corridor. Above the fishing house, the domineering mountainscape was painted in large dense dots with a wet brush in a manner reminiscent of the calligrapher-painter Mi Fu (1051–1107) to convey the humid atmosphere. A twisted tree grows from the rocky outcrop. The artist has used a dry brush to create rough textures below the tree, providing a visual contrast to the moist mountains in the background. A waterfall flows behind the tree, completing the idyllic scene.

In the upper right corner, a poem by Tang dynasty poet Yao He was inscribed to accompany this scene:


I built this thatched pavilion for fishing.
a door made of branches, and bamboo for the pillars.
Through the transparent waves, I see silk threads as shadows.
sitting for a long time, I perceive the feelings of fish.
White birds rest by the window through the night.
green reeds grow beside the stone bricks.
It would just be a fisherman's hut,
if I decline all visiting guests.

(Translated by Tim Zhang)

Yasuda Hanpo was a Japanese Nanga artist active during the Meiji and Taishō eras who became best known for his landscape paintings. Hanpo was one of the founders of the Nihon Nangain (Japan Nanga Institute), an organization dedicated to the study and promotion of Nanga.

Fishing in Reclusion, Yasuda Hanpo 安田半圃 (Japanese, 1889–1947), Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper, Japan

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