Japanese Nihonga painting on paper—this piece by well-known Edo painter, poet, and tea ceremony devotee Baiitsu Yamamoto depicts an idealized mountain scene in Yamamoto’s distinctive style. Close inspection reveals a mountain temple nestled along the cliffs overlooking twin waterfalls. Meanwhile, master and student traverse a mountain path below on their way back to the hermitage.
A native of Nagoya, a bustling Japanese center for shipping and trade in Late Edo, Baiitsu was heavily influenced by works of Chinese art, especially the naturalistic landscapes that made their way into Japan through this port city. Over time he came to paint almost exclusively birds in various landscapes and gained a reputation for his brushwork, exceptional attention to detail, and as he termed it the “spirit” he imbued in a completed work. With his growing reputation came new opportunity and in 1832 he moved to Kyoto where for a time he enjoyed great success. Eventually however, his success attracted the attention of rival factions and, out of jealousy perhaps, they set out to ruin his reputation, forcing him to return to his home in Nagoya. Despite this setback, Baiitsu went on to attract many talented students and paint many masterpieces in the city that first brought him fortune and fame. Today he is a favorite of art-lovers and collectors around the world and his works are held by museums such as the MET, the Fuji Art Museum, and the British Museum—to name a few.
In fine antique condition, this hanging scroll is 188 cm tall and 49 cm wide with the artwork being 125cm x 36 cm. Signed and sealed by Yamamoto, it comes housed in a kiri wood box with the words “Old Master of the Mountain Hermitage Among the Pine Trees” on the cover. (examples of signatures and seals available upon request).