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6. Chô Tôsai (1713-1786)
Ôbaku
Pleasure boating and one line calligraphy
Signed: Sokushin
Seals: Yô noin, Tôsai, Ware kojin o omou (top) & Chôyô zusho, Chû .. betsugo Tôsai
Technique: sumi on paper 100,6 x 27,6
Mounting: light brown damask
ivory rollers, 186,5 x 40,4 (2x)
Condition: the right one lightly soiled, otherwise very good

The inscription, a note by the Qing poet Wang Shizhen (1634-1711) from 池北偶谈, ”Chi bei ou tan” “Coincidental talks north of the pond” reads: 松火圍背坐
[a variant of: 松火围寒坐,溪窗闻夜渔。]
“[In the cold] around the fire of pinewood with your back turned [towards the fire],
[At the window by the the stream listening to the nightly fish.]”


Tôsai was the son of a Chinese and a courtesan from Nagasaki. As a young boy he became a monk at the Kôfuku-ji, a temple of the Ôbaku Zen sect, where, eleven years old he studied with monk Jikuan Jôin (1696-1756).
When he was 28 years old he left the monastery and travelled all over Japan. He lived in Edo for ten years and also in Kyoto for a while. In 1758 he moved from Edo to Osaka, where he finally settled in 1770, making a living by selling medicine. He started teaching Chinese literature, calligraphy and seal carving. Tôsai was a charismatic and convivial figure and a major source of inspiration to students, who were among the leading literati in western Japan. He was the teacher of Baigai (# 9), Kimura Kenkadô (1736-1802) and Rai Shunsui (1746-1816), the father of Rai San'yô # 57).
Tôsai was more famous as a calligrapher; his paintings are rare.

Reference:
Araki pp 1903-1904
Moog pp. 499-500
Nagasawa # 1941
Rosenfield p. 49, 103
Beerens p. 54

Availability: On Request