right; close-up view of a dramatic landscape formed by a lava flow; sweeping lines, jagged cliffs in greens and browns; leafy foliage along lower R; shrubs with small blue and gold leaves LR; gnarled tree at L near more leafy foliage, ferns, and another blue and gold plant

Volcanic Landscape [right of a pair], 1916

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Across the twelve panels of this pair of folding screens, a wide channel cuts through wavelike, emerald-green mountains brought to life through an abundance of expensive mineral and metallic pigments—malachite, azurite, gold. In the lengthy inscription—written in Chinese and brushed in distinctive ancient script—Irie Shikai cites the enigmatic opening lines of Chapter 28 (“Returning to Simplicity”) of the Dao De Jing, the ancient Chinese text, as the inspiration for this magical composition: "Who knows how white attracts, Yet always keeps himself within black's shade."

Irie Shikai first studied painting with well-known local artists in his native Fukuoka before becoming involved briefly with an ultra-right-wing nationalist movement in midlife. During this time, he became familiar with that movement’s influential leader, Tōyama Mitsuru, and the likeminded coal barons from Fukuoka who supported Tōyama financially (the kind of wealthy patrons who might have commissioned a deluxe painting like this pair of screens). Shikai eventually drifted away from right-wing politics and devoted himself again to painting, finding inspiration particularly in the works of the earlier Japanese literati painter Tanomura Chikuden (1777–1835).

Details
Title
Volcanic Landscape [right of a pair]
Artist Life
1862 - after 1938
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2016.88.2
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 collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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right; close-up view of a dramatic landscape formed by a lava flow; sweeping lines, jagged cliffs in greens and browns; leafy foliage along lower R; shrubs with small blue and gold leaves LR; gnarled tree at L near more leafy foliage, ferns, and another blue and gold plant