Bamboo and Plum

Bamboo and Plum

1500s

Sesson Shūkei

(Japanese, active 1504-ca. 1589)

Hanging scroll; ink on paper

Mounted: 198.1 x 60.4 cm (78 x 23 3/4 in.)

Gift from the Collection of George Gund III 2015.503

Description

This painting of a white plum (or prunus) and bamboo was once part of a triptych. A central image of the demon-queller Zhong Kui was flanked by this painting and one of a red plum and bamboo. The paintings would have been suitable to hang after the turn of the new year, when Zhong Kui would drive out evil demons, and the year’s first flowers were in bloom. Sesson hailed from what is now Ibaraki prefecture in northern Honshu. A Zen monk, he spent much of his career in the Kanto region, and developed a distinctive style uninhibited by formal training in the Kano atelier.

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