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Minagawa Kien (1734-1807)
Boating under falling leaves
Signed: Kyôsai shai
Seals: Minagawa Gen, Hakukyô & Kyôsai (bottom)
Technique: sumi on paper 64,5 x 27,6
Mounting: decorated blue damask
ivory rollers, 129,5 x 39,5
Condition: very good

The inscription reads: 石出倒聽楓葉下
Rocks stick [through the water] and one hears maple leaves falling down on them...
This line was quoted from a qilü (shichiritsu) poem by Du Fu (712-770) written to Li Bai (701-762): Song Li bamishu fu Du Xianggong mu(Complete Tang poems, 231-47).

Minagawa Kien sometimes was an extravagant calligrapher, but he also opted for an unexpected perspective regarding his interpretation of a subject in many of his paintings.

Kien was the eldest son of Migawa Shuntô, a well-known scholar of Chinese literature and philosophy. He educated his two sons to become good Confucians and he even provided them with private teachers. Already at a young age both boys were well taught. Kien’s brother Nariakira (1738-79) became an outstanding student of Japanese national history. And Kien himself soon became better known as a Confucian scholar than his father. At the age of twenty-five Kien started to teach and about a year later, around 1760, he was in the service of the Matsudaira family of the domain of Kameyama in Tanba province. In the 1780s he was invited by the domain of Zeze in Ômi province to set up an education system.

Kien studied painting with Mochizuki Gyokusen (1692-1755) first and later with Maruyama Ôkyo (1733-95), Gan Ku (1749-1838) and Go Shun (1752-1811).
From 1783 onwards, in spring and autumn, he organized the Shin Shoga Tenkan, the public semi-annual Exhibition of New Calligraphies and Paintings at the Sôrin-ji in Kyoto. Here he presented the works of many of his friends and colleagues.
In 1805 he established a successful Confucian school in Kyoto, which attracted more than 3000 students, but its importance faded after his death two years later.

Roberts p. 78
Araki p. 1892 ff.
Rosenfield B.54
Beerens p. 105 ff.
Hillier p. 60

Availability: On Request