<- Back Home

click image to enlarge

Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891)
Hiyoko - Chickens and hens tail
Signed: Zeshin
Seals: Shin
Technique: colours on paper 18.9 x 29.3
Mounting: bluedamask and pale green silk
113 x 40.2
Condition: mounted album leaf, very good

Zeshin was an important artist, versatile: a good painter, a print designer, a poet, but most of all the finest lacquer artist of the 19th century (appointed with the rare title: Imperial court artist in his last two years). As a painter he studied every major Japanese painting style.

He was born in Edo, in a plebeian neighbourhood near the Ryôgoku Bridge. His father sold bags and pouches. In his youth, age 11, he was apprenticed to the workshop of the lacquerer Koma Kansai II (1766-1835), who was said to be the finest artist of the large Koma family.
As a painter he studied every major Japanese painting style, especially the Shijô style with Suzuki Nanrei (1775-1844) and Ukiyo-e with the print designer Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). Kuniyoshi and Zeshin share a certain sense of humor in their designs. He studied also the works from the then recently deceased Rimpa artist Sakai Hôitsu (1761-1828) and his followers. In Kyoto he stayed with Toyohiko (1773-1845), where he also met with the circle around Rai San’yô.
In 1832 he received his name Zeshin from Nanrei and build him self a studio looking out on a grove of willow trees and called it "Tairyûkyo": willow-facing residence. In 1835 he succeeded Koma Kansai II as the head of the Koma School. To represent and advertise Japan in the West his paintings were send to the Vienna international exhibition in 1873 and to Philadelphia in 1876.

Link 1979
Goka Chûshin 1974
Goka Chûshin 1980
Itabashi Ward Museum 1980