(Japanese, dates unknown)
Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
Painting only: 128.6 x 56.5 cm (50 5/8 x 22 1/4 in.); Including mounting: 193.7 x 77.5 cm (76 1/4 x 30 1/2 in.)
Kelvin Smith Fund 1991.44
Dredging waterways to preserve their function once required the cooperation of large numbers of people, seen at the top of this painting. Sand-carrying festivals were historically associated with religious rites or gathering alms to construct places of worship, and involved not only the labor of collecting sand from rivers but also parades and performances marking the event. Kyoto’s Kamo River has been dredged many times over the centuries, including in 1856, the year this image was made. Although the title at the upper right says Taihei Kakan, or “Peaceful, Beautiful View,” the painter’s delightful scene reminds his audience that at the best of times, peace may have little to do with quiet.
Sakai Baisai was a student of literati painter Yamamoto Baiitsu (1783–1856). He was active until around 1879, when he relocated to Kobe to make his living as a design painter on porcelains destined for export.
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