Geiai (active ca. 1489)
Geiai (active ca. 1489)

Small birds and herons in a lotus pond

Geiai (active ca. 1489)
Small birds and herons in a lotus pond
Each sealed Geiai
Pair of hanging scrolls; ink on paper
43 5/8 x 19 5/8in. (110.8 x 49.8cm.) each
Wood box signed and inscribed by Ogawa Usen (1868-1938) (2)
Tabayashi Kota, Tokyo
Imperial Museum, Tokyo, "Kaiga, shoseki, senshoku" (Painting, calligraphy and textiles), 1940.3

Kaiga, shoseki, senshoku (Painting, calligraphy and textiles) (Tokyo: Teishitsu hakubutsukan, 1940), p. 2.

Tanaka Ichimatsu, "Geiai to Soritsu," Hoshigaoka [journal issued by Kitaoji Rosanjin], no. 81 (August edition: n.d.), pp. 6--11, frontispiece.
Matsushita Takaaki, Josetsu/Shubun, in Nihon bijutsu kaiga zenshu Collected Japanese paintings), vol. 2 (Tokyo: Shueisha, 1979), p.111, no.40.

_____, ed., Suibokuga (Ink painting), Nihon no bijutsu 13 (Tokyo: Shibundo, 1967), no. 106.

Yamamoto Hideo, "Geiai shiron" (Preliminary essay on Geiai), Gakuso 23 (March, 2001), fig. 10.

Lot Essay

Geiai is an enigmatic, highly prized painter who worked in Kyoto in the late fifteenth century. Only a small number of works with "Geiai" seals are known and there is virtually no biographical information about the artist. A date of 1489 on a document with an underdrawing by Geiai is the only clue to his period of activity.

The wide range of brush techniques used by Geiai (both polychrome and ink painting) is typical of Kyoto painters active in the late fifteenth century as is the elegance of his brushwork. There is speculation, based on his painterly style of ink painting using the "boneless" technique, as in the paintings here, that he may be linked to Geiami (Shingei, 1431-1485), the father of the famous early sixteenth-century ink painter Soami (d. 1525), but there is no real evidence to support this hypothesis. Most Japanese scholarship favors an identification of Geiai with the equally enigmatic painter Oguri Soritsu (d. 1556).

Another painting by this artist sold in these Rooms, 22 March, 2002, lot 91.

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