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Shikisōkazu Kobusuma (Small sliding door with drawings of seasonal flowers and grasses)

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

By Funatsu Bun’en

6th year of Kaei (1853)

 This fusuma (small sliding door) contains four side panels, and was fitted for the cupboard in the tokonoma (an alcove in a traditional Japanese room), in the Hibiya Family's (日比谷家) residence.

 The door was commissioned by the Hibiya Family in the sixth year of the Kaei era, and was made by Funatsu Bun’en (船津文淵) (1806–1856), a gōnō (豪農) (wealthy farmer) and painter in Kaminumata village (present-day Kōhoku area, Adachi ward), who studied with Tani Bunchō (谷文晁) (1763–1840).

The page dated on March 9th in Saian Zakki (菜菴雑記) Funatsu Bun'en's diary contains the following record about the commissioning and delivery of the above work: “Koemon Nitta Shin'emon and Gonosuke came to ask for the painting of the fusuma” (Shin'emon refers to Koemon Shinden from the Hibiya Family).

 As a writer from the Senju area, Bun’en was in close contact with painters of the Edo Rimpa school (琳派). Among them was Suzuki Kiitsu (鈴木其一) (1795–1858), and they mutually influenced each other in terms of painting style and subjects.

 The Hibiya Family must have understood this background when they commissioned the above work, as it is decorated on a gold leaf ground in the Edo Rimpa style with flowers and grasses of the four seasons. The Hibiya Family also had other Rimpa style paintings of flowers and grasses on wooden sliding doors. It is speculated from his diary that Bun’en made these paintings, but unfortunately they were lost during the Shōwa era (1926–1989).

Japanese names follow the Japanese order: surname-name.

Japanese names and words are transcribed using the Hepburn romanization method.

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