SOGA SHOGETSU (DATES UNKNOWN) Edo period (1615-1868), late 18th/early 19th century

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Lot 186* TP
SOGA SHOGETSU (DATES UNKNOWN)
Edo period (1615-1868), late 18th/early 19th century

Sold for £ 11,250 (US$ 15,460) inc. premium
SOGA SHOGETSU (DATES UNKNOWN)
Edo period (1615-1868), late 18th/early 19th century
A four-panel folding screen (the left-hand half of a pair), converted from two fusuma (sliding paper doors), the traces of the original hikite (door-uplls) visible in the centre and at the left, ink on paper, depicting the Chinese warrior Zhangliang (in Japanese, Choryo) standing beneath a large pine tree, his sword held in his right hand and pointing at the ground in front of the calm kneeling figure of Huangshigong (in Japanese, Kosekiko, the 'Yellow-Stone Elder') with his hands clasped together inside his sleeves, cradling a scroll in his right forearm, with rocks and plants in the background, signed on the left Jasokken Soga Shogetsu with four seals, one to the right reading Shijo...bin and three to the left, the first two of them reading Naoyoshi no in and Shogetsu.
385cm x 185cm (152in x 73in).

Footnotes

  • Published:
    Fuchu-shi Bijutsukan (Fuchu Art Museum), Edo no jinbutsuga: Sugata no bi, chikara, ki (Figure Paintings from the Edo Period: The Beauty, Power, and Eccentricity of Human Figures), exhibition catalogue, Tokyo, 2011, cat. no.55.

    Even if this screen were not signed with the names Jasokken and Soga and an artist name beginning with the character Sho, one would know immediately from its bold ink composition and powerfully expressionist figural delineation, based on Chinese legend, that it comes from the circle of the famed individualist painter Soga Shohaku (1730-1781). Shogetsu is one of a tiny handful of identified followers of Shohaku and is known for a small number of recorded works, as follows:

    In Mie Prefectural Art Museum, a set of four fusuma painting depicting Chinese sages, deer, and a crane, with three of the seals also seen on the present lot, and a hanging scroll showing the Meandering Stream at Lanting, dated 1804 (see http://www.bunka.pref.mie.lg.jp/art-museum/);

    A painting of a man and horse (or men and horses) in the Arai Shrine, Hyogo Prefecture (referred to in the Fuchu Art Museum catalogue entry cited above);

    A hanging scroll of Gama Sennin in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston misdated on the MFA website to the early eighteenth century (inv. no. 11.6976).

    The scene from early Chinese history depicted here is Huangshigong's gift of a scroll of military strategy to Zhangliang, a warrior-retainer of the founder of the Han dynasty, Gao Zu (reigned 202-195 BC). Although this episode is not seen in any extant painting by Shogetsu's master Shohaku, the collections of Tokyo National Museum include a four-panel screen, signed Shohaku but of disputed authenticity, that shows an earlier stage of the story: Zhangliang, riding on the head of a dragon, returns a shoe that Huangshigong has thrown into a rocky gorge as a test of the warrior's resolve and determination. In the present lot Zhangliang gets his reward as Huangshigong, transformed from a ferocious old man into a placid young scholar with the precious scroll tucked behind his sleeve, kneels before Zhangliang, transformed from the somewhat submissive figure depicted in the earlier episode into an imposing, sword-wielding warrior; for the Tokyo National Museum screen, see http://webarchives.tnm.jp/imgsearch/show/C0049559; also reproduced in Kyoto National Museum, Soga Shohaku (Shohaku Show), exhibition catalogue, 2005, cat. no.72.

    Although the connection between the Tokyo National Museum screen and the present lot is not clear, given that the screens are respectively the right and left halves of a pair of screens, it is possible that Shogetsu's screen was once accompanied by a right-hand screen that showed the earlier episode of the return of the shoe.
Contacts
SOGA SHOGETSU (DATES UNKNOWN) Edo period (1615-1868), late 18th/early 19th century
SOGA SHOGETSU (DATES UNKNOWN) Edo period (1615-1868), late 18th/early 19th century
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