Yamamoto Shunkyo (1871-1933) | Leaping Carp | Japanese framed painting



Two framed panels by Yamamoto Shunkyo depicting a carp (koi) leaping from a river.

Ink and gold leaf on paper.


Each image – H. 37” x W. 18” (94 cm x 45 cm).

Price: USD 9700

Instinctively brushed in a freehand style, Shunkyo convincingly depicts a leaping carp and reeds with a tangible surface texture and volume. Painted entirely in the foreground the work is immediate and contemporary, the glittering gold surface the source of infinite space. It is a subject that Shunkyo painted often in scroll format, on both paper and silk. This is perhaps the first time the subject has been recorded on a gold-leaf ground. The different absorbent qualities of each surface distinctly alter the behaviour of the ink. Here Shunkyo’s succint brush-strokes and washes have formed astonishing variations in tonality, producing a work of art entirely in keeping with his desire to express nature’s spiritual realm through its physical dimension.

This work of art was originally displayed as two sides of a standing screen (tsuitate). It is now presented as a pair of framed paintings.

Yamamoto Shunkyo (1871-1933) studied briefly with Nomura Bunkyo before becoming a student of Mori Kansai in 1885. He emerged as a talented young artist is the 1890’s. In 1899 he became a teacher at the Kyoto Municipal School of Arts and Crafts, a decade later he was appointed to the Kyoto Municipal Special School of Painting. After 1900 he emerged as one of the most successful nihonga artists in Kyoto. His private teaching atelier flourished, sharing popularity with Takeuchi Seiho’s atelier. When the Bunten opened in 1907, Shunkyo was appointed a jury member, reinforcing his prominence within the Kyoto painting circle. His early influences were photography and Western style painting (yoga). Shunkyo also valued the observation of nature through sketching (shasei). The traditional brush method played and important role in Shunkyo’s art. He investigated brush techniques associated with Chinese landscape paintings of the Song dynasty.