Horses, by Kaiho Yusho

  • Momoyama period
  • 17c
  • Pair of 6-panel screens, ink on paper
  • H-152.9 W-355.6
Catalogue Entry

by Kaiho Yusho
Momoyama period, 17th century
Pair of 6-panel screens, ink on paper
Height, 152.9cm; width, 355.6cm (each)

Kaiho Yusho (1533-1615) was born the 5th son of a retainer of the Asai family, and as he entered Tofukuji as a page at an early age, his life was spared when the Asai family was ruined. Yusho began his actual painting career relatively late in life, but then went on to develop a bold painting style, dominating his generation among the Kyoto painting circles after the death of Kano Eitoku. The best representation of this style can be found in his large fusuma painting group for the Abbot's Quarters at Ken'ninji.

The painting style used in the present work strongly recalls the so-called "bag-shaped" figures found in the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove fusuma images at Ken'ninji.
Yusho returned to secular life in his forties, and then studied the martial arts, along with painting, as part of his desire to re-establish the fortunes of his family. The strong, abbreviated strokes seen in the depictions of the horses in these screens seem somehow related to Yusho's martial art pursuits. HK