four large characters written vertically; signature at L

Qin and Calligraphy - 100 Delights, mid 18th century


The Chinese literati favored four accomplishments (Jap. kinki shoga) as elegant pastimes: playing the qin (seven-stringed lute), playing Chinese chess, practicing calligraphy, and painting. This theme was also taken on by Japanese literati artists, and the words kinki shoga were symbolically equated with the nature of a scholar.

Yanagisawa Kien (1704–1758) was a calligrapher and painter who experimented with heterodox themes and styles. A pioneer of the Japanese literati movement, his works express an eccentric style found in Chinese Qing dynasty (1644–1912) individualists from around the same time. Instead of repeating the common formula of qin-chess-calligraphy-painting, he chooses to dismiss chess and painting and replace them with an expression of joy that the remaining two pastimes brought. His calligraphy, executed in clerical script, continues with the classical theme by articulating the feeling: “Qin, Calligraphy, and One-hundred Delights.”

Qin and Calligraphy - 100 Delights
Artist Life
1706 - 1758
Accession Number
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

Show Detail

Zoom in on the left to the detail you'd like to save. Click 'Save detail' and wait until the image updates. Right click the image to 'save image as' or copy link, or click the image to open in a new tab.

four large characters written vertically; signature at L