The Return to Court of the Four Graybeards of Mount Shang (left); Su Shi’s Visit to the Wind and Water Cave (right
In the Style of Kano Mitsunobu (Japanese, 1565–1608)
Momoyama period (1573–1615)
late 16th century
Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, gold, and gold leaf on paper
Image (each screen): 68 3/4 in. x 12 ft. 4 7/8 in. (174.6 x 378.1 cm)
The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975
Not on view
The subject of the right screen is the future Emperor Hui (reigned 194–188 B.C.) of the Han dynasty. Although the crown prince, his rightful ascendance to the throne was threatened by his father’s desire to install a son from a favored concubine. But the unprecedented return to court of four former officials who had previously abandoned their positions and secluded themselves in the countryside near Mount Shang assured Hui’s succession. Their loyalty so impressed the emperor that he withdrew his illegitimate proposal.
The left screen illustrates a poem by the renowned scholar and statesman Su Shi (Su Dongpo, 1037–1101). In 1073, as Su was traveling from Hangzhou to Xincheng, he stopped at the Wind and Water Cave to meet the young poet Li Bi. After they viewed plum blossoms and composed poetry together, Su inscribed poems on the walls of the cave. In the painting, the older man crosses a footbridge accompanied by a servant, while Li awaits his arrival seated in a pavilion high above a ravine. The slender trees and the crisp, delicate outlines of the rocks are reminiscent of works by Kano Mitsunobu, son and pupil of Kano Eitoku (1543–1590).
[ Harry G. C. Packard , Tokyo, until 1975; donated and sold to MMA].
Princeton University Art Museum. "Transformations in Japanese Painting," March 1, 1983–June 26, 1983.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Immortals and Sages: Fusuma Paintings from Ryoan-Ji and the Lore of China in Japanese Art," 1993.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Seasonal Pleasures in Japanese Art, Part II," May 1, 1996–September 8, 1996.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts of Japan," August 19, 2000–February 5, 2001.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "No Ordinary Mortals: The Human Figure in Japanese Art," 2007–2008.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ukiyo-e Artists' Responses to Romantic Legends of Two Brothers: Narihira and Yukihira," March 27, 2008–June 8, 2008.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Japanese Mandalas: Emanations and Avatars," June 18, 2009–November 30, 2009.
Artist: Circle of Kano Mitsunobu (Japanese, 1565–1608)Date: late 16th centuryMedium: Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gold leaf on paperAccession: 2015.300.70.1, .2On view in:Not on view
Artist: Attributed to Tosa Mitsunobu (1434–1525)Date: late 15th–early 16th centuryMedium: Pair of six-panel screens; ink, color, and gold leaf on paper
Accession: 1975.268.44, .45On view in:Gallery 226