Ascending Eels

Artist: Kimura Buzan 木村武山 (1876-1942)
Historical period(s)
Meiji era, early 20th century
Ink and gold on paper with artist-painted mounting
H x W (image): 104 x 27.4 cm (40 15/16 x 10 13/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Victor and Takako Hauge
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

eel, fish, Hauge collection, Japan, Meiji era (1868 - 1912), shrimp, WWII-era provenance
Provenance research underway.

The subject of this painting, unagi nobori in Japanese, is understood to mean a fast, rocket-like rise. Eels have been an important delicacy in Japan since the Edo period (1615-1868). Eating eel during the hot, humid summer was believed to increase stamina. It is still customary to consume the fish on a certain midsummer day on the lunar calendar that usually falls in late July.

Confident sweeps of the brush define with utmost simplicity the forms of the two eels and the shrimp; gold pigment highlights the edges of their bodies. An elegant, hand-painted design of maples and grasses, also by the artist, creates a harmonious silk mounting for the painting. Kimura Buzan studied painting under Kawabata Gyokusho‚ (1842-1913), an artist who had learned both European and Japanese painting methods. Kimura also studied at the recently established Tokyo School of Fine Arts and later was active in exhibitions of the Nihon Bijutsuin, an association of artists founded in 1898.

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