right screen overall Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
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
2017.223
People
Goshun (Matsumura Gekkei), Japanese (Owari 1752 - 1811)
Title
Seven Chinese Immortals
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting, screen
Date
late 18th-early 19th century
Places
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Period
Edo period, 1615-1868
Culture
Japanese
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/340395
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink and gold on paper
Dimensions
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
  • inscription: right screen, lower right corner: Goshun
  • seal: both screens: Goshun
Provenance
[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
2017
Object Number
2017.223
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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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

Exhibition History

32Q: 2600 East Asian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 06/09/2017 - 12/07/2017

Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/04/2020 - 07/18/2021

Related Works

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu