two panel screen; black bull with head turned to PL; blue rope around bull's neck and horns and through nose, trailing through hind legs

Black Bull, second half 19th century

Not on Viewexpand_more

Oxen, one of the 12 kinds of animals in the Chinese zodiac, have been valued as beasts of burden in Japan since prehistoric times. After Buddhism arrived in the mid-6th century, oxen emerged as emblems of Zen Buddhism, particularly in the Ten Oxherding Songs, a series of Zen parables describing the disciple’s journey from initiation to enlightenment. Uniting the quotidian realism of Shijō school painting and elements of Western-style perspective and shading, this image conveys the powerful presence of the bull. The painting was perhaps commissioned by a lord or wealthy merchant in celebration of his cherished beast. Gyokusen enjoyed the patronage of the Imperial Palace and was key to the modernization of art in Kyoto and the founding of the Kyoto Prefectural School of Arts.

Details
Title
Black Bull
Artist Life
1834 - 1913
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2013.31.48
Curator Approved

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two panel screen; black bull with head turned to PL; blue rope around bull's neck and horns and through nose, trailing through hind legs