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Nakabayashi Chikkei 中林竹溪

“Viewing Blossoming Plum by Moonlight”

Hanging scroll, ink and color on silk
138.5 x 52.0 cm. (54 1/2 x 20 1/2 in.)

Inscription: “Chikkei.”

Artist’s seals: Seigyo no in; Azana Shofu

Published: Kaikodo Journal II (Autumn 1996), no. 47.

Two scholars converse on the bank of a river while enjoying their view of blossoming plum trees in the moonlight. Staccato brushstrokes animate the plum trees while spiky lineament defines the overlapping facets of the mountains. Mist enfolds the hills and creates a poetic atmosphere for the occasion, helping to characterize the emotions attendant on the evening outing.

Nakabashi Chikkei was born in Owari, the modern Nagoya, son of the major Nanga master Chikuto (1776-1853). Trained by his father, Chikkei also studied with another major master of the school, Yamamoto Baiitsu (1783-1856). Chikkei’s independent, even iconoclastic nature led him to establish his own studio in Kyoto, in 1839 at the age of only twenty-three, where he was quite successful, catering to a wide range of patrons.


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