• Collections Search
  • Collection Highlights
  • American
  • Arms and Armor
  • Ancient
  • Chinese
  • European
  • Indian
  • Islamic
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Precolumbian
  • Library
  • Conservation
  • Information
  • Provenance Research
  • Travelers on Horseback on a Mountain in Spring

    YOSA BUSON, Travelers on Horseback on a Mountain in Spring

    YOSA BUSON
    Japanese, 1716-83
    Travelers on Horseback on a Mountain in Spring, 1770s
    Four-panel folding screen; ink, light colors, and gold on paper
    Signature: Shunseisha
    Seals: (upper) Shachoko, (lower) Sha Shunsei
    Eliza S. Paine Fund
    1961.7

    Copyright Notice

    In contrast to most Japanese painting schools of the Edo period (1600-1868), Nanga artists looked for inspiration to Chinese scholar painting- the work of cultivated amateurs- that they knew through woodblock-printed books. The woodblock medium changed the intentionally bland brushwork of the Chinese style into a stronger two-dimensional design, creating simplified surface patterns and flat ink tones that appealed to Japanese taste.

    Buson used a Chinese theme for this work. But instead of imitating a specific prototype, he followed the Japanese idea of selecting a style appropriate to his subject. The asymmetrical composition recalls the type created by the professional painters of the Southern Sung (1127-1271) and Ming (1368-1644) periods, whose work formed the foundation of Japanese ink-painting styles. Travellers on Horseback may be one of a set of four screens depicting the seasons- a major theme in Japanese painting. Buson was also one of Japan's best haiku poets, and the lyrical style of this painting reveals qualities found in his poetry: momentary impressions characterized in simplified evocative images.

    -EdeSS

    Back

    Share