Blossoming Prunus Branch, after Wang Yüan-chang (Wang Mien)Artist(s)Yamamoto BaiitsuArtist NationalityJapanese (culture or style)Object Creation Date1847Medium & Supporthanging scroll, ink on paperDimensions
41 1/8 in. x 14 1/8 in. ( 104.46 cm x 35.88 cm )Credit LineGift of Mr. and Mrs. C.D. CarterLabel copy
Blossoming Prunus Branch, after Wang Mien
Edo period (1615–1868)
Hanging scroll, ink on paper
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. C.D. Carter, 1970/2.156
This painting exemplifies one of the ways Japanese artists learned from Chinese models. It is a direct copy of a work by the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368) artist Wang Mien (1287–1359). To make it, Baiitsu placed thin sheets of paper over the original and traced the contours of the plum branches in pale ink; then, looking at the two works side by side, he painted in the washes, trying to capture the power of Wang Mien’s bold and rapid brushwork. Baiitsu even copied Wang’s original inscription and seals, as well as a colophon (written comment) by a later owner of the work.
Wang Mien, who was known as the greatest painter of prunus (plum trees) in Chinese history, had special significance for Baiitsu. As a young student, he so admired a painting by Wang Mien that his teacher gave him the artist name Baiitsu, meaning “plum leisure.”
This painting exemplifies one of the ways Japanese artists learned from Chinese models: it is a direct copy of a work by the Yuan dynasty artist Wang Mien. Baiitsu placed thin sheets of paper over the original and traced the contours of the branches in pale ink; then, looking at the two works side-by-side, he painted in the washes, imitating Wang’s “flying white” brush strokes. Baiitsu even copied Wang’s original inscription and seals, as well as a colophon by a later owner of the work.Physical Description
The prunus branch depicted by Baiitsu makes use of the long vertical form provided by the hanging scroll format. The branch enters the visual field from the top right, and curves downward toward the bottom of the scroll. On either side of the branch are sections of calligraphic text.Primary Object Classification Painting Primary Object Typehanging scrollAdditional Object Classification(s)PaintingCollection AreaAsianRights
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branches (plant components)
flowers (plant components)