Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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Mt. Fuji
  • Kanō Tanyū
    born: Kyoto, Japan ; died: Edo (present-day Tokyo), Japan ; active: Japan
  • Mt. Fuji, 1669, Edo period (1600–1868)
  • Where object was made: Japan
  • ink on paper
  • Image Dimensions Height/Width: 450 x 750 mm
    Image Dimensions Height/Width: 17 11/16 x 29 1/2 in
  • Source unknown
  • Not on display
  • 1970.0208
Label Text

Archive Label 2003:
Kano Tan’yu, generally considered the foremost painter of his day, became goyo eshi or painter-in-residence to the shogun in 1617, when he was only sixteen. In that position, he was responsible for vast decorative schemas at Nijo Palace, Edo Castle, Osaka Castle, Nagoya Castle, and the Tokugawa Mausoleum at Nikko. In addition he worked for various daimyo (feudal lords), the emperor, members of the Kyoto aristocracy and several major Buddhist temples. Tan’yu was also a brilliant painting connoisseur. His extant notes and the sketches of works he studied are an invaluable record of Chinese and Japanese paintings in seventeenth-century Japanese collections.

Tan’yu frequently travelled the Tokaido highway between Osaka, Kyoto and Edo on official business and would have passed Mount Fuji in different seasons, weather conditions, and times of day. This scroll, painted six years before his death, is quite different in scale and mood from the bold, monumental paintings that he executed for audience rooms of the Tokugawa rulers that he served all of his life. Here the elderly Tan’yu employed an impressionistic style with soft brushstrokes and large areas of graded ink washes to evoke the mystery of this awesome peak.