Eight Views of Omi Province

Eight Views of Omi Province. Eight inscriptions, signature and seal. Silk makimono.

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Artist: Kano Tan'yū 狩野探幽 (1602 - 1674)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1670
Ink and color on silk
H x W (overall): 27.3 x 276.7 cm (10 3/4 x 108 15/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, makimono

To 1904
Michael Tomkinson (1841-1921), Kidderminster, England, to 1904 [1]

From 1904 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Michael Tomkinson in 1904 [2]

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


[1] See Original Makimono Reserved List, R. 440, pg. 1, 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)

Michael Tomkinson (C.L. Freer source) 1841 - 1921
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


Eight Views of Omi Province. Eight inscriptions, signature and seal. Silk makimono.


Artist's seal following signature: Tanyūsai 探幽斎


The subject of this handscroll is the Eight Views of Omi, the region around Lake Biwa near Kyoto. The landscapes are executed in a soft, evocative style that suggests rather than delineates forms. Above each scene is a Japanese poem, written in elegant cursive Japanese hiragana script following to the left of the title in Chinese characters. Tan'yu's signature at the end of the scroll gives his title as "Seal of the Law, official of the Imperial Palace." The title Hoin (Seal of the [Buddhist] Law) was an honorific ecclesiastical title awarded to painters of high standing. After early training in Kyoto, Kano Tan'yu moved to Edo and became an official painter for the Tokugawa shoguns. He established an atelier in the Kajibashi district of Edo and received many important commissions, including the decoration of Edo Castle in 1622 and Nijo Castle in Kyoto in 1626.

In addition to mastering the Chinese painting styles that had become a specialty of the Kano school, Tan'yu became proficient in the elegant courtly style of traditional Japanese painting that was a specialty of artists of the Tosa and Sumiyoshi schools. This style was popular among Tan'yu's patrons, who predominantly belonged to high level daimyo families but consciously sought to acquire the cultivation and prestige of Kyoto court culture.

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