Reading in Bamboo Grove Study


Reading in Bamboo Grove Study

Paintings / Muromachi

Attributed to Shubun; inscription (dated 1447) by Jiku'un Toren and 5 monks

Muromachi period, 15th century

Ink and light color on paper

本紙 縦136.6 横33.6



National Treasure

This work features several inscriptions and Chinese-style poems written above a monochrome ink painting. This type of work is known as a shigajiku, or poetry-painting scroll. The format was popular among Zen priests during the mid-Muromachi period. An introduction recounts how the title and the Chinese-style poems were inspired by the painting below. It is rare to know the original title of works from this era, a fact that makes this example all the more valuable.

The painting depicts a landscape. The soaring mountain on the right and the two trees are drawn with solid lines, with the scenery facing the mountain depicted in fainter strokes. The skillful variation of ink gradation has created a sense of a rolling expanse.

A small hut surrounded by bamboo is drawn next to the trees in the center. A glimpse inside reveals a man reading a book. This is the "Bamboo Grove Study" of the title. Further down to the left, two men can be seen crossing a bridge and heading toward the hut. They probably have some business to attend to at the thatched hut. The enjoyment of these landscapes in enhanced when we try to imagine the stories unfurling within.

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