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View of West Lake

View of West Lake

1700s

Ike Taiga

(Japanese, 1723-1776)

Hanging scroll: ink and light color on paper

Overall: 170 x 140.2 cm (66 15/16 x 55 3/16 in.); Painting only: 64.2 x 133.1 cm (25 1/4 x 52 3/8 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1970.69

Description

West Lake near Hangzhou, China, was a place favored by the Korean and Japanese elite, even though they had never been there. West Lake is legendary for famous Chinese poets: Tang poet Bai Juyi (772–846) and Song scholar Su Shi (1037–1101) lived in its vicinity, and the Song poet Lin Bu (967–1028) led a reclusive life, having cranes and plum blossoms as his only companions on Solitary Hill near the lake. Landscape paintings of West Lake gained in popularity in Japan as early as the Muromachi period. In the Edo period, Ike Taiga, a founding literati painter, challenged himself to depict West Lake in hanging scroll format by transforming an image from a 1633 Chinese woodblock print, Tianxia mingshan tu (Famous Mountains in China) for this work.

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