A female immortal riding on a white deer

Maker(s)
Artist: Kishi Ganku 岸駒 (1749-1838)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, early 19th century
School
Ukiyo-e
Medium
Ink, color and gold on silk
Dimensions
H x W (image): 103.5 x 36.6 cm (40 3/4 x 14 7/16 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1894.29
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Hanging scroll

Keywords
couplet, Daoist Immortals, deer, Edo period (1615 - 1868), fly whisk, Japan, kakemono, woman
Provenance

To 1894
M. Terauchi, to 1894 [1]

From 1894 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from M. Terauchi in December 1894 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]

Notes:

[1] See Voucher No. 6, December, 1894, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

M. Terauchi (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919

Label

A female Chinese immortal who holds a red fly-whisk rides a deer that is a symbol of long life in Japan. The image may represent a female counterpart to the popular Chinese Daoist deity of long life, who is known in Japanese as Jurojin. The longevity theme is also represented by the fungus of longevity that grows from the rocks. Jurojin is usually represented as an elderly man, whereas this deity is a young woman. The substitution of a beautiful, youthful woman for the familiar Jurojin may be an example of mitate, a literary and artistic device that creates unexpected parallels or comparisons between dissimilar subjects. The painting was created during a vogue for paintings of "Chinese beauties" that was begun by Maruyama Okyo in the eighteenth century. The inscription, a two-line couplet in Chinese, reads:


While sitting at home she makes a lute her companion,


While she travels abroad a deer attends upon her.


The poem is signed Gyokuen, the literary name of  the Confucian scholar and calligrapher Tatsu Seika (1751-1821). The painter, Kishi Ganku, studied Chinese-style painting as well as the style of Maruyama Okyo and his followers. The fluid, descriptive lines and delicate colors of the costume reflect the influence of the Okyo school.


(Translation of poem by William R. B. Acker)

Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.