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41. Murase Taiitsu (1804-1881)
Bunjin
The battle at Kawanakajima [1553] between Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin
Signed: Taiitsu Rôjin heidai
Seals: Taiitsu Rôjin sanzetsu & Hakusetsu
Technique: sumi on paper, 109.5 x 59.4
Mounting: blue silk and beige silk
202 x 71.9
Condition: damaged at the top of the mounting otherwise good

両雄争尺不圖全 / 敲手為隣勢可然 / 四海陰晴雲未定 / 當時誰望太平天

The battle of both heroes does not seem to come to an end,
One blow after the other; this battle is total.
Success and failure on earth are fickle as clouds,
who at the time could have hoped for a world at peace.


The Battle of Kawanakajima was the confrontation in 1553 between Takeda Shingen (1521-1573) the daimyo of Kai and Uesugi Kenshin (1530-1578), the daimyo of Echigo during the time of the warring states from the late 15th century to the late 16th century. The battle took place on the plain of Kawanakajima near Nagano.

Murase Taiotsu, a highly individual and unconventional bunjin artist can be regarded as the Confucianist literati equivalent of the Zenga master Sengai Gibon (1750-1837).

Taiitsu was born in Gifu Prefecture. He was the second son in a large, wealthy and educated farmers family. In 1821 Taiitsu went to Nagoya to study with doctor Murase Rissai (1792-1851), a brother of Murase Tôjô (1791-1852), who had been a student of Shinozaki Shôchiku (1781-1851) and of San'yô (1780-1832). Taiotsu went to Kyoto to stay with San'yô, likely introduced by Tôjô. After San'yô's death in 1832 he returned to Nagoya to teach. When in 1840 the Keidôkan School was established by Naruse Seiju, a lord of the Inuyama clan, Tôjô was appointed head and in 1842 he invited Taiotsu to become a teacher there.

When the feudal educational system was abandoned at the beginning of the Meiji period he lost his position as a Confucian teacher. Being unemployed, living far from Kyoto and Tokyo, Taiotsu was free to behave as he pleased and to paint as he wished, he received little attention from anybody but his small circle of pupils and friends.
His life is full of anecdotes of which most seem to be true. He made a career with apparently impromptu childlike naïve paintings and poems and perhaps he was the greatest individualist among the early Meiji painters.

Reference:
Addiss 1979
Oranda Jin 2015
Roberts p. 168
Araki p. 343

Price: EUR 1,400 / USD 1,652