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Chinese Immortal Huang Chuping, After Liang Kai
Important Cultural Property
Hanging scroll
Height 30.2cm Width 30.6cm
Kyoto National Museum
Sesshu (1420-1506?) was a student of the painter Shubun, who was at Shokoku-ji Temple, Kyoto. He is also known to have greatly admired Josetsu, Shubun’s master, and he treasured Josetsu’s painting Ox Herder (bestowing it later in life to his student Unpo Toetsu). The fact that Sesshu, when he was younger, used one of the kanji characters from Josetsu’s name in his own name underscores his admiration for this artist. This painting was done after the style of Liang Kai, a court painter during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279); this was a style that Josetsu had also excelled in. With simple brush strokes, Sesshu captures dynamically the way Huang Chuping (a Taoist priest during the Jin Dynasty (265-420)) transforms stones into sheep. Originally this was part of a set of twelve hanging scrolls imitating the styles of several Chinese artists, but now only five others remain, in the styles of Xia Gui, Yu Jian, and Li Tang, respectively.