four large characters written vertically; signature at L

Qin and Calligraphy - 100 Delights, mid 18th century

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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.”
琴書百樂

Details
Title
Qin and Calligraphy - 100 Delights
Artist Life
1706 - 1758
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2013.29.1113
Curator Approved

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four large characters written vertically; signature at L