猿猴図(「牧谿」印)えんこうず もっけいいん

  • 桃山時代
  • 16c
  • 紙本墨画
  • H-103.5 W-46.3
  • 所蔵
    松方公爵家・小西家旧蔵
解説(春の玉手箱)

 本作は、霧煙る森林の一枝に掴まった猿の一瞬の生態を捉えたもの。下に広がる空間は梢の高さを思わせ、猿の鋭い表情が激しくしなる枝とともに画面に緊張感を与えている。牧谿作の伝承を持つが、毛描きや画面の平明な感じから、牧谿の猿猴図から着想を得た日本人画家の手になる可能性がある。
 ちなみに、牧谿は中国・宋末元初(一三世紀後半)の禅僧画家で、蜀(四川省)の出身。生涯の大半を浙江省で過ごし、幅広い画題の水墨画を描いた。室町時代以降、日本の水墨画に与えた影響は多大で、その画風に倣った多くの作品が生まれた。代表作に「観音・猿・鶴図」(国宝 京都大徳寺蔵)がある。

Catalogue Entry

This work captures a single moment in the life of a monkey clinging to a branch in the midst of a misty forest. The empty expanse below conveys a sense of the tree's height, and the monkey's sharp gaze and the harsh bend of the branch give the painting a sense of tension. While this painting has traditionally been attributed to Muxi's hand, the relatively even quality of the composition and the manner in which the fur is painted would seem to indicate the possibility that the work was created by a Japanese painter after his impressions of Muxi's monkey paintings.

Muxi was a Zen monk painter active at the end of the Song dynasty and beginning of the Yuan dynasty in China (latter half of the 13th century). He was born in Shu (Shuzhuan province) and spent the majority of his life in Zhejiang province, where he is known to have painted ink paintings depicting a wide variety of subjects. Muxi had an enormous effect on Muromachi and later Japanese ink painting, and Japanese painters created a large number of works imitating his painting style. Muxi's most famous work is his Avalokitesvara with Monkeys and Cranes (National Treasure, Daitokuji, Kyoto).