Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove; Four Elders of Mt. Shang

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The Kano school was a group of professional artists patronized by the shogun from the late Muromachi period to the Edo period. The group adopted themes of reclusiveness to convey the importance of loyalty to the shogunate. A leader of the Edo Kano school, Kano Tanyu paired Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove and Four Elders of Mt. Shang to reference a painting of the same theme attributed to Kano Motonobu. Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove refers to the elites who escaped the social chaos of China’s Wei-Jin period (AD 200s–400s); they fled to a secluded bamboo grove where they could express themselves freely, enjoying pure conversation, music, and wine. Four Elders of Mt. Shang depicts the scholars who left the turbulence of the late Qin dynasty to pursue their scholarly interests in seclusion on Mt. Shang in Shanxi province.
Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove; Four Elders of Mt. Shang

Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove; Four Elders of Mt. Shang


Kano Tan’yū

(Japanese, 1602–1674)
Japan, Edo period (1615–1868)

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