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Lot 65: SENGAI GIBON (1750-1837) Tenjin Travelling to China Edo period (1615-1868), early 19th century

Est: $2,500 USD - $3,500 USDSold:
Bonhams 2September 14, 2016New York, NY, US

Item Overview


SENGAI GIBON (1750-1837)
Tenjin Travelling to China
Edo period (1615-1868), early 19th century
Hanging scroll, ink on paper; depicting Tenjin,
God of Learning, with a sprig of plum blossom
in his sleeve, inscribed with a poem Tofu
fukeba Morokoshi made mo nioi kemu ume
no nushi no sode no ichimai (The east wind
blows, taking the scent even as far as China:
Here too the master carries a branch
of blossoms in his sleeve), with seal Sengai
With wood tomobako
42 3/4 x 14 5/8in (108.7 x 37cm)

John Stevens Collection
Tenjin, the deified form of Sugawara Michizane
(845-903), is the god of literature and learning.
Due to intrigues at the imperial court in Kyoto,
he was exiled to Daizaifu in Kyushu, where he
missed his beloved plum blossoms so much
that a tree flew there to console him. After
Michizane’s death his vengeful spirit wrecked
such havoc on Kyoto in the form of storms,
earthquakes, disease, and death that his court
titles were posthumously restored and he was
enshrined as the god Tenjin, portrayed here
wearing Chinese-style robes (by legend he
was said to have studied in China) with a sprig
of plum blossoms in his sleeve.
Sengai had an especial affinity for Tenjin
since he spent his last years in Daizaifu,
Sengai’s home district. Usually Sengai’s Tenjin
paintings are small enough to fit in any home
but this one is quite large, likely brushed for a
samurai household.

Artist or Maker

Auction Details

Fine Japanese and Korean Art

Bonhams 2
September 14, 2016, 01:00 PM EST

580 Madison Avenue, New York, NY, 10022, US