A pupil and the adopted son of Tanomura Chikuden, Chokunyû was deeply acquainted with Chinese literati paintings of the late Qing period. He helped to establish and was the first director of the Kyoto Municipal School of Fine Arts and Crafts (which survives today as an important university), and later left the schol fo found the Nihon Nanga Kyôkai (the association of Japanese literati painters). He was also well known as a calligrapher and poet.
Like the previous two paintings, this small work was once part of a collaborative album. Here it has been mounted as a hanging scroll—an act that marks a fundamental shift in its reception. An album is held in the hand by a single individual, who turns the pages at will, controlling the pace and sequence of a private viewing. A hanging scroll, by contrast, is meant for display. Both the intimate scale and the theme of companionship make this painting a good choice for a tearoom alcove, such as that in this gallery.
Tanomura Chokunyû was the son of a minor local official in Kyûshû. At age eight he began to study painting with the renowned literati painter Tanomura Chikuden (1777–1835), who saw such promise in the boy that he adopted him. Chokynyû accompanied Chikuden on his frequent travels to Kyoto, where he became well acquainted with many of the artists seen in this exhibition. He later moved to Osaka and then Kyoto, where he was instrumental in establishing Japan’s first publicly funded painting school.
Maribeth Graybill, for the exhibition "Japanese Visions of China,"
9/21/02 - 1/26/03
Inscription, signature and seal of the artist:
Inscription and signature of the artist:
(The ancient tree reaches a height of a thousand feet, its branches trail among the clouds. … The woodcutter Chokunyû.)