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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