Four Monks

Accession Number

Four Monks


Object Creation Date
circa 1750-1805

Medium & Support
ink on paper

16 in x 21 1/8 in (40.6 cm x 53.7 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Helmut Stern

Subject matter
The expressions of the monks and the supposed scene of reprimanding occurring leads to the conclusion that this may be a painting to promote lesson learning or maybe a comedic painting. It looks like the monk in the upper area is pulling back a punch, which is odd. Perhaps due to the subject of the painting, monks, the scroll could have been placed in a monastery or temple. 

Physical Description
This ink on paper hanging scroll depicts four monks. There are two on the left side watching an interaction between the other two monks on the right side. The two on the left are watching with the same hunched posture. Among the ones on the right, one is standing above the other in an almost reprimanding way. The details of the towering figure's face are clearer than any of the other monks and appear to form a stoic expression. The expression of the other monks have varying expressions, but look almost comical. There are two lines of inscription to the upper right and another two lines on the upper left. Further to the left is the artist's signature followed by two red seals.

Primary Object Classification

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

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2 Related Resources

Japan Pax Tokugawa 1600-1868
(Part of: Empires and Colonialism)
"Japan", Gender, etc.
(Part of: body, physicality and form; mod/contemporary religious imagery (Asia Galleries Winter 2022 DRAFT))

& Author Notes

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