Orchids and Bamboo

Maker(s)
Artist: Gyokuen Bonpō 玉畹梵芳 (1348-ca. 1420)
Historical period(s)
Muromachi period, 15th century
Medium
Ink on paper
Dimensions
H x W: 84.4 x 35.5 cm (33 1/4 x 14 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1967.10a-c
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Hanging scroll

Keywords
bamboo, Japan, kakemono, Muromachi period (1333 - 1573), WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Label

Zen monk-painters of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries admired the ideals and styles of Chinese ink painting, which they practiced and established in Japan. Their paintings were kept and admired in Japanese Zen Buddhist monasteries and other prestigious collections. Wild orchids growing naturally symbolized the high moral character of Chinese scholars who dwelt in remote mountain retreats.

In this elegant rendering of the subject, Gyokuen Bompo, a Zen Buddhist monk and abbot of two large monasteries in Kyoto--Kenninji and Nanzenji--has created a distinctive image of orchids with long leaves reaching upward. In later periods, the paintings of Japanese Zen monk-painters, especially those associated with Kyoto monasteries, continued to influence and to be admired by painters.

Published References
  • Zaigai hiho [(Japanese Paintings in Western Collections]. 3 vols., Tokyo. vol. 2: pt. II, p. 101.
  • untitled article. no. 768. pl. 4.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 24, vol. 2: p. 160.
  • N. Kumagai. Biography of Gyokuen Bompo. vol. 15 Tokyo, March 1933. pp. 15-34.
  • Chu-tsing Li. The Oberlin Orchid and the Problem of P'u-Ming. vol. 16 Honolulu. pp. 49-76.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 112.
  • Unknown title. no. 384 Tokyo. p. 383.
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.