Mother’s Breast (Chichi) 1844
Hanging scroll. Ink, pigments and gofun on silk.
弘化 紀元 甲辰 晩冬 嘯山 埜昌 冩
Kouka era, dragon year, late winter, painted by Shozan Yashou
Image: 43” x 16.5” (110 x 42 cm)
Scroll: 72” x 22.5” (183 x 57 cm)
Price: USD 5400
This work by Shozan Yashou, an unidentified artist of the late Edo period, playfully expresses the mother dog’s exhaustion as her pups play with carefree abandon. The brilliantly blooming hibiscus and white morning glories denote late summer/early fall.
This endearing subject showcases the artist’s brush skills and the careful portrayal of plants and animals reveals a close study of nature. The dog’s fur has been depicted with fine brush lines and exquisite detail. The striking colour scheme has been achieved with vivid pigments, ink and delicate gofun (a gesso-like paste made from powdered shells).
A very rare subject in Japanese art though not unrecognized. In 1939, the literati painter Yano Kyoson painted an analogous scene on a pair of two-panel screens titled ‘Chichi’, or ‘Mother’s Breast’.