Artist: Soga Shohaku (1730-1781)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, ca. 1760
Ink on paper mounted on wood core
H x W (overall): 182.3 x 277.5 cm (71 3/4 x 109 1/4 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Harold P. Stern Memorial Fund
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Screen (two-panel)

donkey, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, landscape, scholar, waterfall, WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Previous Owner(s)

James Freeman


During the Edo period (1615-1868) no Japanese artist exceeded Shohaku in the ability to endow scenes of nature with an energy that seemed on the verge of exploding from the painting's two-dimensional surface.

The scene is an unusually powerful rendition of a standard Chinese subject: a scholar journeying to seek the company of kindred spirits in their mountain retreat. Here, a lone figure on a donkey crosses a bridge at the base of a waterfall. He is followed at a distance by a servant who travels on foot, carrying his master's lute.

Tiny human forms are overwhelmed by the majestic and portentous quality of nature-perhaps the true subject of this painting.

Published References
  • Impressions: The Journal of the Japanese Art Society of America. no. 39 Lexington, MA, 2018. p. 118.
  • Thomas Lawton Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. pp. 312-315.
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.