SHIBATA ZESHIN (JAPAN, 1807-1891)
THE FLORENCE AND HERBERT IRVING COLLECTION
SHIBATA ZESHIN (JAPAN, 1807-1891)

THE NARROW ROAD TO SHU

Details
SHIBATA ZESHIN (JAPAN, 1807-1891)
THE NARROW ROAD TO SHU
Hanging scroll, lacquer painting on paper, signed Tairyukyo Zeshin, aged 71, followed by a seal reading Zeshin
20 x 15 in. (51 x 38 cm.), excluding mount
Provenance
Masaharu Nagano, Tokyo.
Klaus F. Naumann, Tokyo, 1987.
The Irving Collection, no. 1690.
Literature
James C. Y. Watt and Barbara Brennen Ford, East Asian Lacquer: The Florence and Herbert Irving Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1991, no. 148, pp. 290-91
Exhibited
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, East Asian Lacquer from the Florence and Herbert Irving Collection,12 November 1991-23 February 1992.

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

Zeshin was a virtuoso technician: he invented flexible colored lacquers that could be used on paper. Painting with lacquer, a viscous and sticky substance, was extremely difficult. The artist’s patience and skill in recreating delicate details is almost unimaginable. Here, he chose a Chinese subject that was much beloved in Edo-period painting, the path in the mountains of Shu in Sichuan province in southwestern China, where the Tang emperor Ming Huang fled with his concubine, Yang Gueifei. The capital of Chengdu appears in the distance at the far left, delicately rendered and obscured by mist. A precarious plank bridge crosses over the cascading river that cuts a deep gorge through dramatic, rugged mountains. The artist skillfully contrasts meticulous detail with forceful, swirling brushwork. This small hanging scroll, a technical tour-de-force, is without doubt one of Zeshin’s finest lacquer paintings.

More from Lacquer, Jade, Bronze, Ink: The Irving Collection Evening Sale

View All
View All