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Four Chinese male figures in robes stand in golden clouds, moving towards the right, one riding a dragon.

Two men, standing in the third panel from left, walk together toward left, one has his back to us, the other holds up a palm leaf book, his smiling mouth is open. Two figures follow behind them, a young man riding a small dragon holds a small harp-like instrument up to his mouth. An older man stands behind him holding a hooked staff. The dragon is wrapped in a cloud. A lightly drawn deer looks to the right in the clouds near upper right. Clouds are rendered in gold. The two end panels are blank except for continuation of clouds.

Gallery Text

Goshun initially trained under poet and literati painter Yosa Buson (1716–1784), but subsequently adopted many of the ornamentalizing habits of the Maruyama studio. This pair of screens decoratively depicts seven of the eight Chinese immortals, an established literati ink-painting theme. At the head of the group is Daoist scholar Dongfang Shuo, who famously stole the legendary peaches that grant eternal life; the elderly magician Zhang Guolao walks alongside a dragon at the rear, his mule transformed into a folded sheet of paper tied to his staff. They and their immortal companions are rendered relatively simply in ink. However, the work is theatrically elevated by a generous sprinkling of several types of gold, which forms drifting clouds that imbue the celestial scene with a mystic beauty.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Goshun 呉春 (Matsumura Gekkei 松村月渓), Japanese (Owari 1752 - 1811)
Seven Chinese Immortals
Work Type
painting, screen
late 18th-early 19th century
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Edo period, 1615-1868
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, gold, and sprinkled gold on paper
painting proper, each panel: 153 × 63.5 cm (60 1/4 × 25 in.)
overall width when spread flat: 381 cm (150 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • signature: right screen, lower right corner: 呉春 [Goshun]
  • seal: upper; square, intaglio: 呉春之印 [Goshun no in]
  • seal: lower; square, intaglio: 伯望 [Hakubō]


Recorded Ownership History
[Harry Packard, Kyoto, Japan, (by 1987)], sold; to Robert and Betsy Feinberg, Bethesda, MD (1987-2017), gift; to Harvard Art Museums.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Publication History

  • Rachel Saunders and Yukio Lippit, Painting Edo: Selections from the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art, exh. cat. (Cambridge, MA, 2020), pp. 80-81, fig. 70
  • Rachel Saunders, ed., Catalogue of the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art, brochure, Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, 2021), pp. 60-61, cat. 48

Exhibition History

Related Works

Verification Level

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