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Ta(yu)inosho Senri 田結莛干里

“Monkeys in Cedar Tree”

Hanging scroll, ink and color on satin
148.6 x 52.1 cm. (58 1/2 x 20 1/2 in.)

“Green mountains begin to darken,
monkeys cry to the autumn moon;
Red-leafed trees in the first month of winter,
shed tears of morning frost.

Artist’s seals:
Den Hitsu seal; Senri; Shu hua ben jo (“painting and calligraphy originated in the unskillful”)


(NOTE: Further information is provided below the detailed images.)



Title (written on the side of the painting) –
千里先生 猿
Senri Sensei Monkeys.


Three monkeys perch on the branch of an old cedar tree, its age suggested by the moss adhering to the surface and the hanging vines. In the background appear distant peaks with a waterfall, the whole serving as a restrained background for the exuberance of the foreground elements. The brushwork is loose but controlled, suggesting knowledge of Chinese painting styles of an earlier era.

Ta(yu)inosho Senri was born in Dojima, the son of a Confucian physician from Tajima in northern Hyogo prefecture. He became a disciple of the revolutionist Oshiio Heihachiro when young and was imprisoned for a year following the rebellion of 1837. After his release, Senri associated with such literati writers as Shinozaki Shochiku, Hirose Kyokuso, and Fujisawa Togai, and also studied painting with Kaneko Sesso (1794-1857), a follower of the Nanga style of painting. Senri further studied artillery in Nagasaki, a military art for which he became famous, but by the end of the Edo period he became a businessman with an interest in shipping. After the Restoration of 1868 he devoted himself to painting at his home in Tennoji and to the education of his disciples.

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