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3 Items in this Learning Collection

Copyright
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Blossoming Prunus Branch, after Wang Yüan-chang (Wang Mien)

Accession Number
1970/2.156

Title
Blossoming Prunus Branch, after Wang Yüan-chang (Wang Mien)

Artist(s)
Yamamoto Baiitsu

Artist Nationality
Japanese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
1847

Medium & Support
hanging scroll, ink on paper

Dimensions
41 1/8 in. x 14 1/8 in. ( 104.46 cm x 35.88 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. C.D. Carter

Label copy

Yamamoto Baiitsu
Japan, 1783–1856

Blossoming Prunus Branch, after Wang Mien
Edo period (1615–1868)
1847
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.”



Subject matter
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 Type
hanging scroll

Additional Object Classification(s)
Painting

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
branches (plant components)
calligraphy (process)
flowers (plant components)
hanging scrolls

2 Related Resources

Ink and Realisms
(Part of: Artist Associations and Art Movements)
Japan Pax Tokugawa 1600-1868
(Part of: Empires and Colonialism)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved