Shoushou Hakkei 瀟湘八景
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Ch: Xiaoxiang bajing. Lit. Eight views of the Xiao and the Xiang. The eight designated scenes of the area around the confluence of the Xiao and Xiang rivers and Lake Dongting (JP: Doutei 洞庭) in China's Hunan ( Jp: Konan 湖南) province. Each of the eight views is identified by a four character poetic title: Heisa rakugan 平沙落雁 (Wild Geese Descending to Sandbar), Enbo kihan 遠浦帰帆 (Returning Sails off Distant Shore), Sanshi seiran 山市晴嵐 (Mountain Village after Storm), Kouten bosetsu 江天暮雪 (River Sky in Evening Snow), Doutei shuugetsu 洞庭秋月(Autumn Moon over Lake Dongting), Shoushou yau 瀟湘夜雨 (Night Rain over the Xiao and Xiang), Enji banshou 煙寺晩鐘 (Evening Bell from a Distant Temple), and Gyoson sekishou 漁村夕照 (Fishing Village in Sunset Glow). Northern Zong painter Zong Di (Jp: Sou Teki 宗迪; ca.1015-ca.1080) is credited with creation of the theme according to literates Shen Kuo (Jp: Shin Katsu 沈括; 1029-1093), who coined the term "eight views" *hakkei 八景. However, there is much debate which came first, the titles or the paintings. The subject was popular among the scholarly elite, and the Emperor Huizong (Jp: Kisou 徽宗; reign:1100-25) of the Northern Song dynasty is reported to have commissioned artist Zhang Jian (Jp: Chousen 張せん) to travel to the area by boat and paint the scenery in eight scenes. Despite, or perhaps because of the Chinese locale, the Shoushou Hakkei theme became extremely popular in Japan. Four Chinese handscrolls, including works by late Song - early Yuan dynasties painters Muqi (Jp: Mokkei 牧谿; Nezu 根津 Museum, Tokyo) and Yujian (Jp: Gyokkan 玉澗; Idemitsu 出光 Museum of Art, Tokyo), were in the collection of the Ashikaga 足利 shogunate by the mid-15c. The earliest Japanese painting of the theme, or a fragment of it, is Heisa rakugan by Shitan 思堪 (early 14c; Kyoto National Museum). Among the many notable Muromachi period paintings are those by Toushun 等春 (1505-42), Sesson 雪村 (1504-89), Bokkei 墨渓 ( ?-1473) and Souami 相阿弥 ( c1485 -1525). Japanese paintings of the Shoushou Hakkei, particularly those executed on folding screens *byoubu 屏風 and sliding screens *fusuma 襖, often have a distinct seasonal character and show the changes from spring to winter through the eight scenes. In the Edo period the theme was popular with sinophile *nanga 南画, painters and even parodied by *ukiyo-e 浮世絵 artists, most notably Suzuki Harunobu's 鈴木春信 (1725- 70) clever *Zashiki Hakkei 座敷八景 (Eight parlor views). The Japanese also adapted the idea of eight views and applied it to their own geography. The *Oumi Hakkei 近江八景 (Eight views of the Lake Biwa region) and the *Kanazawa Hakkei 金沢八景 (Eight views of Kanazawa) are just two examples.


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