VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Landscape with ink broken
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This landscape painting employs the splashed-ink (J. hatsuboku) method, in which outlines are eschewed and ink appears to be flung at the paper in an uncontrolled manner. Although light and dark tones of ink are used throughout, the painting still has a strong framework, demonstrating Sesshû's characteristic stability and sense of structure. In his dedication, Sesshû calls this the "broken-ink" (J. haboku) method, thus this painting has traditionally been known as the "Broken-ink Landscape." This is a National Treasure.

History of the Object
At the top of the scroll is a dedicatory inscription written by Sesshû (1420-1506?), giving a date of the middle of the third month of Meiô 4 (1495) and his age as seventy-six, as well as poems inscribed by six celebrated poet-monks from Gozan Zen temples in Kyoto. From the content of these inscriptions as well as the style of the painted image, it is clear that this is a rare original work by Sesshû. According to Sesshû's dedication, a certain Josui Sôen, who had studied painting under Sesshû at Suô (present-day Yamaguchi Prefecture), was to return to his home in Sagami (modern Kanagawa Prefecture) and requested Sesshû to create this painting as a certificate that he had properly inherited the master's painting method. Having received the scroll with Sesshû's painting and dedication, Sôen stopped in Kyoto on his return home and had the six esteemed monks inscribe their poems as well. Sesshû also noted in his dedication that he had traveled to China and studied the paintings of Li Zai (active c. 1425-1470) and Zhang Yousheng (dates unknown), and that in Japan he carried on the painting traditions of the painter-monks Josetsu and Shûbun, who were active in the Muromachi period (1392-1573), thus clarifying his painting lineage and proclaiming his own sense of importance.

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Type
Painting 
Materials
Ink on paper, 1(hanging scroll) 
Measurements
Width 32.7cm Height 148.0cm  
Creator name
Sesshû 
Creator date
1420-1506 
Where it was made
Japan 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
AD 15th century ~ AD 15th century 
Creation date
15th Century; 1495; Muromachi Period 
Function
art work 
Acquisition
It is the current policy of the Tokyo National Museum not to publish the acquisition history of its collection on the Internet. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
National Treasure 
Owner
Tokyo National Museum 
Museum
Tokyo National Museum 
Credit line
Tokyo National Museum 

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