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Uragami Gyokudo

I am too lazy and obstinate to paint small scenes;
I can wet the black ink and grind the red, but ideas are difficult.
Why busy myself to death with my small talents?
Better to discard the brush and face the true mountains.

Uragami Gyokudo (tr. Stephen Addiss)

Uragami Gyokudo (1745-1820) was a musician, poet, calligrapher, and painter affiliated with the Nanga “literati” school of Japanese painting, which drew influence from the earlier Southern School of Chinese literati painting. Known more for his music and poetry during his life, he resigned from his post at age 50 to become an itinerant artist.

The titles below are taken, where possible, from the catalogue of the Chiba City Museum of Art exhibition, Life as Bunjin – The Art World of Urakami Gyokudo and His Sons, Shunkin and Shukin, unfortunately difficult to obtain.

Eastern Clouds, Sifted Snow (~1812)
Rain Cloaks the Mountains
Scholar’s Pavilion by a Stream
Reading the Book of Changes by a Mountain Stream
Mountains Dyed Scarlet
Playing the Koto in the Mountains
Half the Sky is Misty Rain (1813)
Pine Groves on a Cold Peak
Strange Peaks, Autumn Colors
Crossing a Bridge in the Deep Mountains (1818)

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for these! If anyone’s curiosity is sparked, James Cahill’s book “The Nanga School” has a good, short chapter on Gyokudō and is easily obtained.

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