|32. Tomioka Tessai (1837-1924)|
Mountain landscapeSigned: Tessai Ren
Seals: Tomioka Hyakuren, Sokuseki Hen ..
Technique: sumi on paper 144,6 x 38,9
Mounting: green decorated damask
dark wooden rollers, 198 x 52,9
Condition: lightly creased, otherwise very good
The inscription remains unread.
Tessai was born in Kyoto into a family selling robes and accessories for the Buddhist clergy. As a result of a childhood illness he became partly deaf. It was therefore considered improbable that he would ever become a successful shopkeeper. Instead he went to study the Japanese classics in order to become a Shinto priest. He also did Chinese studies, specializing in the teachings of the neo-confucianist Wang Yang-Ming. Later he would study Buddhism, literature and Shingaku, a semi-religious system for self-cultivation.
As a youth Tessai met Ōtagaki Rengetsu (# 29, 30, 54-56) and became her special protégé. She taught him waka and encouraged his artistic inclinations. Tessai was mainly self-taught, indepently studying Nanga painting and learning from friends. He was, however, strongly influenced by Shinten’ô (# 34).
In the final years of the Tokugawa era Tessai was involved in the pro-imperialist movement. For fear of being arrested he left Kyoto in 1861 and travelled to Nagasaki. It was the first of many trips; Tessai became and avid traveller. In 1882 he settled in Kyoto where he spent the rest of his life. Although he worked as a priest at several Shinto shrines, he saw painting as his chief occupation. Between 1894 and 1904 he was a teacher at the Kyoto Prefectural Art School and he was a regular contributor to exhibitions of the Nanga Society. In 1917 he was appointed Artist to the Imperial Household and towards the end of his life he received an honorary court-rank. Tessai is often seen as the last great exponent of the Nanga school.
Roberts p. 181
Araki pp. 2754-2755
Aburai pp. 266-267
Morioka & Berry ‘99 pp. 116-121
Morioka & Berry ‘08 p. 305-06