sekisetsu kansho 積雪看書
KEY WORD :  art history / paintings
Ch: jixue kanshu. Lit. reading by the light of piled snow. A Chinese painting subject depicting the dedication and inventiveness of the 4c scholar Sun Kang (Jp: Son Kou 孫康), alternatively Xuanshi (Jp: Senshi 宣士). As a young student, he was too poor to afford an lamp oil, and thus hit upon this method to continue his studies after dark. This didactic Confucian theme was painted occasionally by Japanese artists, as in the screen *fusuma 襖 depicting Chinese figures in a winter landscape, attributed to Kanou Motonobu 狩野元信 (1476-1559) at the Reiun-in 霊雲院, Myoushinji 妙心寺, Kyoto. A similar theme of dedicated nocturnal study involves the Jin dynasty Daoist Che Yin (Jp: Sha In 車胤), who, also too poor to buy oil for his lamp, studied at night by the light of fireflies gathered in a bag and hung by his desk (Ch: juying dushu; Jp: jukei dokusho 聚螢読書). Together the two themes are known as keisetsu-no-kou 螢雪之功 (meritorious deeds involving firefly and snow).


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