Fish and Plants

A work made of single six-panel screen; ink, color, and gold on silk.

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  • A work made of single six-panel screen; ink, color, and gold on silk.

Date:

1908

Artist:

Ikeda Keisen
Japanese, 1863-1932

About this artwork

池田桂仙の銘によれば、この作品は、父親の縮図をもとに描いたもので、桂仙と個人的なかかわりの深い作品である。父親は、南画派の有名な画家であった。南画派は、画題と画法を中国文人画とその書籍に求め、18~19世紀に盛んであった。この屏風は、南画派の伝統を称えるものであるが、池田桂仙の作品は、決して伝統的といえない。

 これまでスケッチなどの縮図類に限られてきた題材を、大型の金粉地の屏風に描くことで、それらを格式高い、洗練された絵画に高めている。さらに屏風形式と金粉地であることで、古典的な中国絵画の題材を日本風に改めている。

 さまざまな30種以上の魚と80種以上の植物が、6扇の画面に展開されている。巧みに詳細に描かれているが、多くの魚の奇抜な描写にみられるように、ユーモアの感覚をももって描かれている。このような盛り沢山の題材の描写は、仏教的な意味合いを込めたものと見られる。

The artist Ikeda Keisen, as he recorded in his signature, modeled this work on the small-scale sketches of his father, making it clear that the execution of these screens was a deeply personal exercise. His father was a famous painter of the Nanga school, which flourished in Japan in the 18th and 19th centuries and took its subject matter and technique from Chinese literati paintings and printed books. This screen is a celebration of this venerated painting tradition, although Ikeda Keisen’s work is anything but traditional.

By displaying on a large-scale screen subjects that had previously been limited to sketches, he elevated them to the most formal kind of finished painting, replete with gold dust for the background. In addition, the screen format and the gold dust serve to “Japanize” this otherwise classic Chinese subject matter.

The abundant display of over 30 different kinds of fish and over 80 different varieties of plant life are spread out across the six panels. These deftly executed elements are painted with meticulous detail, but also with a sense of humor, as evidenced by the whimsical depictions of many of the fish. The display of such a cornucopia may carry Buddhist overtones.

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Asian Art

Artist

Ikeda Keisen

Title

Fish and Plants

Origin

Japan

Date

1903–1913

Medium

Single six-panel screen; ink, color, and gold on silk

Dimensions

137 x 287 cm

Credit Line

Purchased with Funds Provided by the Weston Foundation

Reference Number

2007.360

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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