painting proper Photo © Photography: John Tsantes and Neil Greentree © Robert Feinberg
Gallery Text

Taiga was one of the most accomplished of Japan’s early literati painters. Chinese Musicians is a virtuosic early work that retains traces of the lively context in which it was created: the texture of the markings reveals that the paper on which it was brushed was laid and painted on a tatami floor mat, suggesting the work was improvised in front of friends at a party. Close examination reveals that Taiga painted it by inking his fingertips and nails, an eccentric act that surely increased the drama of his performance.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Ike Taiga (Ikeno Taiga), Japanese (Kyoto 1723 - 1776)
Chinese Musicians
Work Type
painting, hanging scroll
18th century
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Edo period, 1615-1868
Persistent Link
Level 3, Room 3500, Special Exhibitions Gallery
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Hanging scroll; ink and light color on paper
painting proper: H. 118.9 × W. 27.2 cm (46 13/16 × 10 11/16 in.)
overall mounting, including roller ends and suspension cord: H. 198.8 × W. 50 cm (78 1/4 × 19 11/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: Kyūka Sanshō Kinsha
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
Publication History

The Flowering of Edo Period Painting: Japanese Masterworks from the Feinberg Collection, exh. cat., Yomiuri Shinbunsha (Tokyo, 2013), p. 62, cat. 18

Rachel Saunders and Yukio Lippit, Painting Edo: Selections from the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art, exh. cat. (Cambridge, MA, 2020), p. 52, fig. 39

Exhibition History

Ike Taiga and Tokuyama Gyokuran: Japanese Masters of the Brush, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 04/29/2007 - 07/22/2007

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

Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/14/2020 - 07/18/2021

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