koushoku-zu 耕織図
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Ch: gengzhitu. Lit. pictures of agriculture and sericulture. In China the theme was originally reserved for court painters because it belonged to the genre of peasant paintings which served as visual reminders for ruling princes of the toil of the common people (see *kankai-zu 勧戒図). The first recorded painting of the subject was presented to a ruler, Emperor Gaozong (Jp: Kousou 高宗) of the Southern Song dynasty. It is attibuted to Lou Zhou (Jp: Rou Chuu 楼ちゅう, 1090-1162) and supposedly stems from his observation of farming methods. The work divided agriculture into 21 steps and sericulture into 24, with each step illustrated and described with a five-character poetic inscription. Beginning in the Yuan period many painting, woodblock prints and even engravings in stone were made of the subject. An extant example is the scroll attributed to Liang Kai (Jp: Ryoukai 梁楷; act. early 13c; Cleveland Museum), long in the collection of the Ashikaga 足利 shogunate, that exists in a Kanou School *Kanouha 狩野派 copy (Tokyo National Museum). Another painting by Kanou Einou 狩野永納 (1613-97) was based on a Chinese print of the Tianshun period. Other notable Japanese paintings of the theme include the folding screen by Kanou Motonobu 狩野元信 (1476-1559; Nezu 根津 Museum, Tokyo) and sliding screens attributed to Kanou Yukinobu 狩野之信 (1512?-75?; Daitokuji Daisen-in 大徳寺大仙院, Kyoto).


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