By Ganku (1749-1838) Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk; signed Ganku sha and dated Temmei kinoto mi kure no haru [late spring, year of the snake (1785)] and sealed Hoku, ba and another seal 48 1/8 x 24 1/4in (122.2 x 61.6cm)
Kishi Ganku was born in Kanazawa and first worked in a textile shop. He moved to Kyoto in 1773 to serve as the retainer of Prince Arisugawa Orihito (1755-1820). He was granted the title Echizen no Suke (honorary governor) in 1804. Like most painters in Japan at this time, he began his studies in the tradition of the Kano School. He then turned his interests to the continental influence of the Nagasaki School. This work evinces Ganku's interest in the Chinese style of painting favored by the Nagasaki School artist, So Shiseki (1712-1786), whose work had a profound effect on Ganku in his early, formative years.
For a painting of a rooster and banana plant, executed four years earlier than this example, and a painting of peonies of the same date, see Kishi ha to sono keifu exh. cat. (Ritto: Ritto rekishi minzoku hakubutsukan, 1996), nos. 3 & 6.