right screen Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Sansetsu belonged to the Kyoto Kano, a lineage barred from serving the Tokugawa shoguns in Edo because the studio head had served a rival warlord. Sansetsu’s distinctive mannerist style is exemplified in these enormous, uncanny landscapes that tell two classical Chinese tales of eccentricity. At right, a monk, dwarfed by the mountainous setting, stands before a gate, his hand raised as if he might knock or even enter. Instead, he stands with his back to the building and only smiles. The left screen depicts the story of the scholar Wang Ziyou, who spontaneously boarded a boat one night to visit a friend. By the time he reached his destination, however, the impulse had passed, so Wang turned around and went home without so much as a word to the person he had set off to meet.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Kano Sansetsu 狩野山雪, Japanese (Hizen province 1590 - 1651)
A Visit to Li Ning’s Secluded Dwelling and Wang Ziyou Visiting Dai Andao
Work Type
screen, painting
mid 17th century
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Edo period, 1615-1868
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink and gold on paper
each screen, painting proper: H. 153.1 × W. 360.4 cm (60 1/4 × 141 7/8 in.)
each screen, overall with mount: H. 169.3 × W. 377.8 cm (66 5/8 × 148 3/4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • signature: 山雪 [Sansetsu]
  • seal: square, relief: 山雪 [Sansetsu]
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Right screen: "A Visit to Li Ning’s Secluded Dwelling"
Left screen: "Wang Ziyou Visiting Dai Andao"
Publication History

Yamato Bunkakan, ed., Kano Sansetsu : senkyo e no sasoi, exh. cat. (Nara, Japan, 1986), seal published, p. 96 no. 4

The Flowering of Edo Period Painting: Japanese Masterworks from the Feinberg Collection, exh. cat., Yomiuri Shinbunsha (Tokyo, 2013), pp. 126-127, cat. 58

Matthew McKelway, "Kano Sansetsu no yakyoku", Gaka yūraku, Okudaira Shunroku Sensei Taishoku Kinen Ronbunshū, ed. Okudaira Shunroku, Geika Shoin (Tokyo, 2018), vol. 2, pp. 149-169

Rachel Saunders, "Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection", Orientations, Orientations Magazine (Hong Kong, January/February 2020), vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 20-33, pp. 22-23, figs. 3a and b

Rachel Saunders and Yukio Lippit, Painting Edo: Selections from the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art, exh. cat. (Cambridge, MA, 2020), pp. 24-26, figs. 9-10

Exhibition History

The Flowering of Edo Period Painting: Japanese Masterworks from the Feinberg Collection, Tokyo Metropolitan Edo-Tokyo Museum, 05/21/2013 - 07/15/2013; Miho Museum, 07/20/2013 - 08/18/2013; Tottori Prefectural Museum, 10/05/2013 - 11/10/2013

32Q: 2600 East Asian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 12/07/2017 - 06/01/2018; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/29/2021 - 07/17/2022

Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/14/2020 - 06/06/2021

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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