Tenryu Dojin (1718-1810)
Late 18th century
Framed Japanese Painting. Ink on Paper.
Dimensions: H. 136 cm x W. 54.5 cm (53.5” x 21.5”)
A framed Japanese ink painting depicting a grapevine by the well-known 18th century zen monk and artist Tenryu Dojin. Using ink tones ranging from rich, dark black to an almost transparent gray, the artist produced a striking drama: a grapevine blowing in the wind. The grapevine is painted in an abstract and stylized manner, with the artist using bold, sweeping strokes to create rhythm and movement in the painting. The painting focus’s on the interplay between the vine and the space around it, conveying a sense of the vine’s energy and vitality. The brushwork is expressive and fluid, with an emphasis on capturing the essence or spirit of the subject rather than its exact details. This approach allows the artist to convey a sense of the subject’s beauty and spirit, while also leaving room for the viewer’s imagination to fill in the gaps.
Tenryu Dojin (1718-1810) was a Japanese zen monk, statesman, philosopher, poet, and painter. He was born in Hizen domain in Kyushu and at the age of 15 he entered the Buddhist priesthood. He later went to Nagasaki to study medicine and the Nanpin style of painting under Kumashiro Yuhi. Later moving to Kyoto where he began to associate with loyalists to the monarchy. He was involved in a couple of unsuccessful attempts to overthrow the shogunate, eventually escaping to Suwa in Shinshu or modern day Nagano around the age of 50. In Suwa he hid his identity and background and led a self contained life of painting and writing poetry. He was particularly well-known for his paintings of ink grapevines, even publishing a treatise on how to paint them at the age of 89.
Among other institutions, ink paintings of grapevines by the artist are held in the British Museum, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Minneapolis Institute of Art, New Orleans Museum of Art and the Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art in Japan.