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A work made of pair of six-panel screens; ink and gold leaf on paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of pair of six-panel screens; ink and gold leaf on paper.


early 19th century


Kishi Ganku
Japanese, 1749-1838

About this artwork




In this bold study of bamboo rendered in monochrome ink against a solid ground of gold leaf, Kishi Ganku has captured the essence of the stalks with as few materials as possible. The screen on the right features the stalks of bamboo rising from the ground by a stream, while on the left we imagine the lofty upper reaches of the leaves beyond the top edge of the work.
Ganku rendered the sectional trunks of bamboo by loading the brush with ink and moving it evenly across the surface of the painting. In areas where the ink skipped across the non-absorbent gold or was mixed with animal glue, the results are naturalistic effects mimicking the bamboo’s texture or the play of light on its surface.

The severe cropping of the plants enhances the effect that one has, when standing or sitting close to the screens, of being in the midst of a bamboo grove. This was completely intentional. Evidence suggests that these screens were part of a set of five pairs originally meant to be set up around the perimeter of a room or rooms during a salonlike gathering of would-be literati who compared themselves to the legendary Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove.


Currently Off View


Arts of Asia


Kishi Ganku




Japan (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1801–1899


Pair of six-panel screens; ink and gold leaf on paper


Each: 178 × 376 cm (70 × 148 in.)

Credit Line

Russell Tyson Purchase Fund income

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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