Yamamoto Baiitsu (Japanese, 1783-1856)
hanging scroll; ink on silk
Painting only - h:172.40 w:79.00 cm (h:67 13/16 w:31 1/16 inches)
Including mounting - h:252.70 w:105.40 cm (h:99 7/16 w:41 7/16 inches)
Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund
In Japan, the literati painter Yamamoto Baiitsu loved the plum and even changed his name to include the word plum. Here, he created a dynamic composition to show the energy of the late Edo period. The plum, bamboo, and orchid derive from the motif of the Four Gentlemen, also called the Four Noble Ones or Four Friends. The term compares four plants--the plum blossom, bamboo, orchid, and chrysanthemum--to Confucian scholar-junzi, or "gentlemen." Four Gentlemen also refers to a painting or decoration incorporating all the plants, which are most typically depicted in traditional ink paintings. [Seunghye Sun, Cleveland Museum of Art, (3/27-8/28/11); "The Lure of Painted Poetry"]
date and signature at lower left.