Important Cultural Property
By Ike no Taiga
Light color on paper, scroll
L31.7xW677.7 (picture only)
Edo period, Kannen 2 (1749)
Kyushu National Museum
The picture depicts Matsushima, one of the three most scenic sites in Japan. Famous historical buildings, such as Zuiganji temple and Godaido, are drawn in a simple manner with watery sumi. Blue, brown and yellow colors are effectively used for the water’s surface, mist and mounds of earth, creating a profound and noble landscape.
Ikeno Taiga (1723 – 1776), a bunjin (literati) painter, drew this picture during a trip to Kanazawa while recollecting the landscape of Matsushima he visited in the previous year. Taiga, like other bunjin at the time, had a passion for Chinese culture from an early age and dreamed of the lifestyle of Chinese bunjin who made it a rule to read books, visit and appreciate picturesque scenery and make their drawings. This is why he also toured around the country to visit and draw pictures of scenic sites.
The title of “Mutsukisho,” which appears at the beginning of the painting, was written by Ko Fuyo (1722 – 1784), Taiga’s close friend and Confucian scholar. At the end of the painting, there is a postscript explaining what motivated him to create this scroll. This painting, which Taiga created at the age of 27, is a valuable material in that it serves as a reference painting as the year of and reasons for its creation are clear and that it clearly shows Taiga’s ideal style in his creative activities.