|bokudou bokugyuu 牧童牧牛|
|KEY WORD : art history / paintings|
|Lit. herdboy and ox. Ch: mutong muniu. A Chinese painting theme long popular in Japanese ink painting. The subject originated in China where the pastoral life of the herdboy represented the ideal life, a life in retirement away from worldly cares. The subject of herdboys and oxen is also related to the Zen theme of the "Ten Bulls," *juugyuu 十牛, which similarly features young herdboys and oxen but as an allegory for stages of enlightenment. Bokudou bokugyuu was often painted by artists connected to the Song court academy, as represented by the pair of late 12c hanging scrolls by Li Di (Jp: Ri Teki 李迪) in the Yamato Bunkakan 大和文華館, Nara. Japanese artists began painting the theme in the Muromachi period, and artists concerned with Chinese subjects continued to depict the subject through the Edo period. The pair of scrolls attributed to Bunsei 文清 (fl. 15c) in the Drucker collection, Los Angeles, are fairly typical of Muromachi versions of the subject, while the hanging scroll by Okada Beisanjin 岡田米山人 (1744-1820) in the Yabumoto collection is a good example of Edo period reinterpretation of the theme. The herdboy and ox subject appears in several sub-types: herdboy leading an ox and playing the flute, outeki bokugyuu 横笛牧牛; ox crossing water, tosui bokugyuu 渡水牧牛; herdboy playing the flute and returning home on an ox, bokuteki kigyuu 牧笛帰牛; and herdboy and ox resting (usually sleeping), bokudou gagyuu 牧童臥牛. In addition, there are paintings of oxen grazing (without herdboys), bokuya 牧野, as well as herdboys (without oxen) releasing birds from cages, bokudou houchou 牧童放鳥.|
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