19th Century Japanese Scroll Painting by Igarashi Chikusa, Poppies & Butterflies



Poppies & Butterflies

Ink, pigment and gofun on silk

Igarashi Chikusa (1774-1844)

Signature: Chikusa Ran Zen

Upper Seal: Ran Shuzen

Lower Seal: Kyoho


Scroll: H. 68” x W. 18” (172cm x 45cm)

Image: H. 38.5’’ x W. 12.5’’ (98cm x 32cm)

Price: USD 4,800

This composition shows elegant images of poppies and the butterflies that are inevitably drawn to them. It captures a momentary glimpse into a world both visually dazzling and startlingly realistic. The painting is infused with sensitivity and attention to seasonal change and weather conditions. The thin and fragile poppies are beautifully depicted with brilliant colors and the butterflies are similarly infused with life. The painting is on silk which requires extremely precise painting skills as no element once painted can be removed.

Poppies were a favorite subject of Rinpa school artists through the ages. Originally they were somewhat abstracted but by the age of Sakai Hoitsu and Suzuki Kiitsu, attention to detail and a tendency toward naturalistic depictions of flowers had become more pronounced. This is likely where Igarashi Chikusa drew inspiration for his subject matter. 

Igarashi Chikusa (1774-1844) was a rather eclectic artist. Originally from Niigata, Chikusa moved to Tokyo at the age of ten and studied diverse painting styles under Suzuki Fuyo, Sakai Hoitsu and Tani Buncho. He is the grandson of the artist Igarashi Shunmei. 

The painting has recently been restored and remounted.