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.