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Hashimoto Shoka (1813-1879)

“Blossoming Plum in Mist and Moonlight”

Hanging scroll, ink on silk
137.2 x 87.0 cm. (54 x 34 1/4 in.)

“An ancient wrote one hundred poems on the blossoming plum but my paintings of ink plums were
exhausted at fifty, and I am ashamed to be so far behind. Kyo Tatsu.”

Artist’s seals:
Hashimoto Tatsu Azana Taiwa and two others

(see write up below)

Branches of blossoming plum twist and turn, emerge from the mist and then disappear again. Many of the blossoms and some branches were left in reserve, emphasizing them against the ink-washed background that itself was done with strong variations in ink-tonality, creating a very effective suggestion of clouds and mist parting to allow the full moon to shine through. The surface of the painting seems imbued with kinetic energy, with the forms in continuous movement from side to side, from up to down, and also from front to back of the picture.

The artist, Hashimoto Shoka, was a samurai living in Kochi. In Edo he studied the Nanga literati style of painting with Haruki Nanko (1759-1839); after the Meiji Restoration in 1868, he served for a time as Vice-governor in Kochi while continuing to practice as a Nanga painter there.

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