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Yamashita Chikusai

1885 – 1973

Mountain valley, a very true beauty
pair of six-panel screens [rokkyoku byobu]
1927 Place made: Japan
Creation Notes: Showa period (1926-1989), dated November Showa 2 (November 1927)
Materials & Technique: paintings, ink and gold on paper; ink and gold on paper Support: pair of six-panel screens

Dimensions: 137.0 h x 274.0 w cm 137.0 h x 274.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2004
Accession No: NGA 2004.499.A-B

Known in Japanese as byobu or protection from the wind, folding screens were commissioned by wealthy patrons to serve as serve as utilitarian room dividers as well as decorative items. Yamashita Chikusai painted Mountain valley – A true beauty in the early years of the Showa period (1926–1989), an era of modernisation and rapid growth.

Although working in the Japanese manner and drawing upon classical themes, Chikusai was greatly influenced by Western modernism which had infiltrated Japan throughout the late Meiji period (1868–1912) and preceding Taisho period (1912-26). Depicting a mountainous tree studded landscape the composition combines the rough brushstrokes and idealised scenery of traditional Chinese literati and 19th century Japanese nanga paintings with modern cropping and perspective.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label