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4. Gassaku by Sakaki Hyakusen (1697-1752), Ike Taiga (1723-1776) and Soga Shôhaku (1730-1781)
Jurôjin and turtle
Signed: Kashô, Shôhaku
Seals: Hô Shin’en in (upside down), Azana iwa Hyakusen - Shinnei Ike shi, Mumei (Arina) Jasokuken
Technique: sumi on paper, 102.8 x 38.5
Mounting: blue brocade
174 x 48.1
Box: inscribed
Condition: good

萬春無疆 Ten thousend endless springs,
A very rare collaboration of three eminent painters of the 18th century.

Sakaki Hyakusen one of the pioneers of Nanga painting, was born in Nagoya, as the son of apothecary. He studied Kanô painting in Kyoto, but turned to the Chinese literary style and so became one of the first leaders of the Nanga style. He copied many Chinese paintings which were imported in the Ming Period (1368-1644) and experimented widely.

Sakaki Hyakusen probably developed his interest in Chinese painting because of his family's business of selling Chinese medicinal herbs. As one of the pioneers of Nanga painting, a style inspired by the great tradition of scholar painting in China.

White, J “Hinges” 2019
Rakkan Kao Daijiten p. 383

Ike Taiga Hyakusen’s friend and pupil, the best-known and most influential Nanga painter of the 18th century. He was the son of a farmer and he worked at a fan-painting shop in Kyoto and engraved seals.
After an accidental meeting with Yanagisawa Kien (1704-1758) he became his student and learned the Chinese technique of finger-painting in 1738. He became friends with Kô Fuyô (1722-84) and Kan Tenju (1727-95), who also worked in Kien’s studio.
In 1746 he married Gyokuran (1727-84), the proprietor of a teahouse, who was a talented painter and poet in her own right. Taiga was a frequent traveller and in Edo he got into contact with Western imagery through Noro Genjô (1693-1761), a rangakusha, scholar of Western learning. This meeting also had an influence on Taiga’s work.
After Taiga died his studio Taigadô became a kind of pilgrimage resort for his followers.

Suzuki 1960
Suzuki 1996
Takeuchi 1992
Fischer 2007
Nihon no bijutsu kaiga kinshû Vol. 18

Soga Shôhaku who, with Jakuchū (1716-1800) )and Rosetsu (1754-1799), is one of the Three Famous Eccentrics. He was born in Kyoto to a merchant family. In his early twenties he studied with the old Kanô style painter Takada Keihô (1674-1755). Keihô's influence was profound, which must have helped him a lot, because his career was already set in his early thirties. His prolonged stay at Ise in 1758-1759 seemed to have made him popular there because he returned in 1764 and went to Harima in 1767. Some of his best work was made on these trips of which many commissions for Buddhist temples.

He was a hell of a painter and a character. He felt undervalued which he compensated with bold and eccentric work as a result his contemporaries considered him mad and fanatic. He made up a number of fictitious descents from the Soga lineage up to the founder of the Ming dynasty making him 14th generation Emperor of China. It didn't really help.

Shôhaku's work is a mixture of Kanô School painting, Soga, Unkoku, Muromachi and early Chinese paintings, often picturing Chinese subjects and Muromachi type landscapes done in broad ink washes in combination with detail. Shôhaku had no formal schooling, no (proven) cultural or historical lineage and after his early death no one to follow him in his art. Seems typical, makes it tragically.

Chiba 1998
Kyoto 2005