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Nachi Waterfall
長沢蘆雪 那智瀧図 絹本墨画淡彩 江戸時代 18世紀
Date: approx. 1789-1801
Historical Period: Edo period (1615-1868)
Object Name: Hanging scroll
Materials: Ink and light colors on silk
Dimensions: H. 66 1/2 in x W. 19 in, H. 168.9 cm x W. 48.3 cm
Credit Line: Transfer from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of Ney-Wolfskill Fund
Department: Japanese Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: B69D47
On Display: No

Description

Label:

The Nachi Fall located deep in the mountains of Wakayama prefecture, south of Osaka, has long been a sacred spot associated with native Shinto beliefs. In this masterful painting, the artist Rosetsu—who is known for his individualistic and sometimes humorous painting style—contrasts the vastness of this natural wonder with a tiny figure who has come to view it.

Further information:
A solitary hiker pauses on his way up the mountain, awed by the spectacle of a monumental waterfall. The location is Nachi, a sacred site in the remote Kumano region of Kii province (now called Wakayama prefecture). Some 130 meters in height, Nachi was for centuries a major pilgrimage destination; devotional paintings of the waterfall, honoring its resident spirit, or kami, survive from as early as the Kamakura period (1185–1333). In later years, Nachi also became the subject of secular meisho-e, or pictures of famous places.

The artist's treatment of the landscape sets this work apart from the literati paintings displayed elsewhere in this room. The scene is set not in China but Japan and the hiker is an ordinary Japanese traveler in sedge hat and gaiters, a tobacco pouch at his waist. The smooth, even ink washes used to define the landscape are also distinct from the dotted texture strokes found in most literati paintings. Other forms—such as the figure, the decaying rain shelter, and trees—are rendered with meticulously observed detail.

Rosetsu was trained by the Kyoto master Maruyama Okyo (1723–1795), founder of the Maruyama school of painting. Okyo made his name with paintings infused with Western-style naturalism, and though he also studied imported Chinese models, they were typically figural or flower subjects by professional artists, not scholar-amateur landscapes. Rosetsu's debt to his teacher is evident in the hillside at the bottom of the waterfall, where he uses the tsuketate technique—painting with a wide soft brush loaded with two tones of ink wash—to create a sense of volume and shading, without contour lines or internal shading. The gentle humor, exaggeration, and distortion in this painting of Nachi Waterfall suggest that it is a work of Rosetsu's mature period—done after he had left Okyo's circle and had developed his own distinctive and highly appealing style.

 


More Information

Exhibition History: "Japanese Paintings from the Collection of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco", organized by Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc. (Nikkei), Matsuzakaya Art Museum, Nagoya (3/2/1995-4/9/1995), Takashimaya Art Gallery, Tokyo (4/20/1995-5/9/1995), Takashimaya Grand Hall, Kyoto (6/30/1995-7/11/1995), Sogo Museum of Art, Yokohama (8/2/1995-9/17/1995)
Label:

The Nachi Fall located deep in the mountains of Wakayama prefecture, south of Osaka, has long been a sacred spot associated with native Shinto beliefs. In this masterful painting, the artist Rosetsu—who is known for his individualistic and sometimes humorous painting style—contrasts the vastness of this natural wonder with a tiny figure who has come to view it.

Further information:
A solitary hiker pauses on his way up the mountain, awed by the spectacle of a monumental waterfall. The location is Nachi, a sacred site in the remote Kumano region of Kii province (now called Wakayama prefecture). Some 130 meters in height, Nachi was for centuries a major pilgrimage destination; devotional paintings of the waterfall, honoring its resident spirit, or kami, survive from as early as the Kamakura period (1185–1333). In later years, Nachi also became the subject of secular meisho-e, or pictures of famous places.

The artist's treatment of the landscape sets this work apart from the literati paintings displayed elsewhere in this room. The scene is set not in China but Japan and the hiker is an ordinary Japanese traveler in sedge hat and gaiters, a tobacco pouch at his waist. The smooth, even ink washes used to define the landscape are also distinct from the dotted texture strokes found in most literati paintings. Other forms—such as the figure, the decaying rain shelter, and trees—are rendered with meticulously observed detail.

Rosetsu was trained by the Kyoto master Maruyama Okyo (1723–1795), founder of the Maruyama school of painting. Okyo made his name with paintings infused with Western-style naturalism, and though he also studied imported Chinese models, they were typically figural or flower subjects by professional artists, not scholar-amateur landscapes. Rosetsu's debt to his teacher is evident in the hillside at the bottom of the waterfall, where he uses the tsuketate technique—painting with a wide soft brush loaded with two tones of ink wash—to create a sense of volume and shading, without contour lines or internal shading. The gentle humor, exaggeration, and distortion in this painting of Nachi Waterfall suggest that it is a work of Rosetsu's mature period—done after he had left Okyo's circle and had developed his own distinctive and highly appealing style.

 


Exhibition History: "Japanese Paintings from the Collection of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco", organized by Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc. (Nikkei), Matsuzakaya Art Museum, Nagoya (3/2/1995-4/9/1995), Takashimaya Art Gallery, Tokyo (4/20/1995-5/9/1995), Takashimaya Grand Hall, Kyoto (6/30/1995-7/11/1995), Sogo Museum of Art, Yokohama (8/2/1995-9/17/1995)