Important Cultural Property
By Yokoyama Taikan
8 hanging scrolls
Color on silk
Taishō 1 (1912)
Tokyo National Museum
These paintings were submitted to the sixth Bunten (Monbushō bijutsu tenrankai, the exhibitions held by the Ministry of Education). It is also well known due to Natsume Soseki's comment on it—he stated that in these pieces there is a "charm that appears to be sophisticated and fatuous at the same time."
Shosho Hakkei is a theme of painting that depicts, using seasonal motifs, the famous sights along the Xiao River and the Xiang River, which merge at Lake Dongting in the Hunan Province, China. Taikan painted with the following eight titles: Onpo Unpan (Clouds and Sails Off Distant Shore); Shosho Yau (Night Rain Over the Xiao and Xiang); Enji Bansho (Evening Bell From a Distant Temple); Sanshi Seiran (Mountain Village After Storm); Gyoson Henshou (Fishing Village in Sunset Glow); Dotei Shugetsu (Autumn Moon Over Lake Dongting) Heisa Rakugan (Wild Geese Descending to Sandbar); and Kouten Bosetsu (River Sky in Evening Snow).
Taikan obtained the idea for this series when he traveled to China in Meiji 43 (1910). Nonetheless, these pieces surprised the art world with their bright colors and with the entirely new aesthetic sense of Taikan's own, different from traditional suiboku landscapes.