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Aoki Shukuya 青木夙夜

“Pleasures of Fishing”

Hanging scroll, ink and color on paper
95.3 x 29.4 cm. (37 1/2 x 11 3/4 in.)

“Painted by Yo Shukuya.”

Artist’s seal:
Yo Shukuya


(NOTE: Further information, including box inscription, is provided below the detailed images.)



Box & Box inscriptions:

Double boxed


Title on inner box lid

“Yo Shukuya – Pleasures of Fishing on Pure Water.”


Inscription on the back of the inner box lid

“In the Sanchū-jin Jozetsu [?] the author (Tanomura Chikuden) wrote, ‘I(met him)and knew he was a man who studied hard.’

Every time I see his painting, I always remember Chikuden’s words.

Now I confront this scroll and find no hint of laboring.

The ancient elegance is enjoyable and makes me feel as if I were seeing Mr. Yo [Shukuya].

If the artist wasn’t a man who studied hard, this wouldn’t be possible.

I appreciate it so much that I wrote the title and inscribed this.

丙辰春日錦残畫屋中 介堂「介堂」[忘筌] On a spring day of the year 1916 in the Kinzan-Sho oku (probably his studio) Kaidō” [Kaidō] [Bō sen].

*Note: Kaidō is Yamada Kaidō 山田介堂 (1868~1924), a Nanga painter, born in Fukui, who studied painting with Tanomura Chokunyū and Tomioka Tessai in Kyoto.


Signature & Seals 落款

餘夙夜写 「夙夜」「鐘秀之印」
“Painted by Yo Shukuya.” [Shukuya] [Shoshu no in]


Inscription on the inner box bottom

餘夙夜漁遊之図 金之堂蔵
“Yo Shukuya’s ‘Painting of Pleasures of Fishing,’ owned by Kinshi-dō.”



Label on outer box

餘夙夜 Yo Shukuya
漁楽図 Painting of Pleasures of Fishing
半截 35cm x 135cm



Three boats are drawn up against the base of a cliff, their goal indicated by the fishing poles at the front of each. However, two of the fishermen have set their lines, and watch intently from the interior of the cabin, while the pole of the third figure is still stowed away with line unfurled, while the man snoozes in his cabin. This humorous detail suggests that Japanese fishermen, like their Western counterparts, go out early in the morning, before the wind comes up and after the fish become active in the sun-warmed water

The drawing is lively, a characteristic as well of the rocks and foliage of the overhanging cliff. The brushwork and also the strongly diagonal composition was popularized in 16th-century China by members of the Zhe School, based in Zhejiang province and the source of many paintings that were imported by the Daimyo lords of Japan.

The artist Aoki (originally Yo) Shunmei, called Shukuya, was born in Ise, perhaps of Korean parents surnamed Yo. Adopted by the Aoki family, Shukuya joined his elder cousin, Kan Tanju (1727-95), in living in Kyoto. Tenju was a noted seal-carver and probably introduced Shukuya to Ike Taiga (1723-1776), who became Shukuya’s teacher and mentor. Following the death of Taiga in 1776 and of Taiga’s wife, Gyokuran, in 1784, Shukuya and other pupils established a memorial hall named the Taigado; Shukuya became the first master of the hall, calling himself Taigado 2nd in honor of his teacher.

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