shikunshi 四君子
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Ch: Sijunzi. Lit. four gentlemen. A Chinese flower-painting theme that features depictions of plum ume 梅, wild orchids ran 蘭, bamboo take 竹 and chrysanthemums kiku 菊; and makes the implicit comparison between qualities attributed to the plants and men of virtue. The paintings usually have seasonal associations: plum with winter; orchids with spring; bamboo with summer; and chrysanthemums with autumn. Thus shikunshi is closely related to the painting theme Three Friends of Wintery Seasons *saikan sanyuu 歳寒三友. The subject was popular with Chinese scholar painters in the Ming and Qing dynasties, although representations of the subject substituting one or two different plants of the four have existed since as early as the 12c. The shikunshi theme similarly was popular with Japanese *nanga 南画 artists who frequently rendered it in monochrome ink *sumi 墨. Notable paintings include works by Ike no Taiga 池大雅 (1723-76), Yosa Buson 与謝蕪村 (1716-84), and Watanabe Kazan 渡辺崋山 (1793-1841).


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