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Keizan Shūsei Zu (The Painting of Mountains and Valleys on a Clear Autumn Day)

Updated: Dec 25, 2022

 This is a hanging scroll depicting a landscape (山水図) (sansui zu) which was painted by Shōji Kensai (庄司健斎) (unknown date of birth and death), a Confucian scholar and doctor from Mito in today’s Ibaraki Prefecture. The scroll has been passed down within the Hibiya Family (日比谷家). Shōji is believed to have been a professor of medicine at Kōdōkan in Mito and was a private tutor for Tokugawa Yoshinobu (徳川慶喜) (1837–1913), 15th Shōgun in the Tokugawa shogunate. He is also an author of several books including Kiga Roku (飢餓録) (records about famine) and was a friend with other scholars such as Fujita Tōko (藤田東湖) (1806–1855). As the elder brother of Shōji Benkichi (庄司弁吉) (1819–1864) who was known as one of the “Four Heaven’s Kings” (Shitennō 四天王) in the Hokushin Ittō-ryū (北辰一刀流) swordsmanship, Shōji possibly learned this swordsmanship through his brother. Shōji seemingly knew Hibiya Kenjirō (日比谷健次郎) (1836–1886) well, as Shōji reportedly visited him on many occasions. He left four landscape paintings with the same title that appears on the back of one of the fusuma (襖) doors (sliding doors) that the Hibiya Family owns. Finally, although the drawing is in black, its rich expression evokes a clear autumn blue sky.

All Japanese names in this translation follow the Japanese order: surname-name, and all Japanese names and words follow the Hepburn romanization method.

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