Japanese Nihonga painting on paper—this piece by well-known Meiji/ Taisho artist Tomita Keisen depicts an idealized mountain scene in Keisen’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.
Keisen was trained in classical painting and was well-versed in the Kano and Shijo school traditions. Despite his classical roots, he strove to develop his own unique style of painting. While many of Keisen’s mature works are done in the traditional nan-ga and kacho-ga styles, generally his painting technique strove to avoid what he considered prescribed and uninspired motifs—favoring instead free-form sketching techniques with subjects gleaned from his travels and observations of everyday life.
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 Keisen, it comes housed in a period wood box with the words “Old Master of the Mountain Hermitage Among the Pine Trees” on the cover; while on the reverse side is the year of production (7th year of Taisho), an explanation of the painting, and Keisen’s signature and seal. (examples of Keisen’s signatures and seals available upon request).