Orchids and Rock with Calligraphy

Accession Number

Orchids and Rock with Calligraphy

Ikeno Gyokuran

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
ink on silk

( )

Subject matter
Gyokuran (her artist name) or Tokuyama Machi (1727/28-1784) was born to educated mother, who was the owner of a teahouse and was known for her skilled poetry composition. While she was young, Gyokuran studied painting under the artist Yanagisawa Kien (1706-1758). Kien also taught Gyokuran’s future husband, Ike Taiga (1723-1776), the most well-known Japanese literati painter. After the marriage, Gyokuran continued her studies under the guidance of her husband, who rose to prominence for his unparalleled brushwork among the contemporary community of painters and scholars. Gyokuran was a skilled poet and painter in the Nanga or Southern Painting school, a group of Synophile Japanese painters who took subject matters and painting styles from Chinese literati masters.
This work alludes to the beloved theme of the “Four Gentlemen,” which consisted of bamboo, orchids, plumbs and chrysanthemums or pines. A gentleman should be strong like bamboo, gentle like the orchid, brave like the early blooming plumb, steadfast like the chrysanthemum and long-lived, like the pine. These plants are lauded as the physical embodiment of an ideal scholarly gentleman.

Physical Description
Hanging scroll with calligraphy and landscape imagery. Three lines of calligraphy adorn the upper left side while opposite is imagery of orchids, grass and a rock.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
hanging scroll

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

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.

calligraphy (process)
hanging scroll
landscapes (representations)
literati (painters)

1 Related Resource

Weese Collection and Gallery Rotations: Docent Module
(Part of: Fall 2021 Docent Exhibition Packet)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved

On display

UMMA Gallery Location ➜ FFW, 2nd floor ➜ 216 (Japanese Gallery)