156.0 x 82.3cm image; 244.5 x 98.9 x 105.8cm scroll [height x width x rod]
This eccentric pair were one of the most popular subjects among Zen painters. Kanzan and Jittoku were two monks who lived on Mount Tiantai in Tang dynasty China (618-906), where they were known as Han Shan and Shi De respectively. Kanzan, in the true Zen manner, was a hermit-poet who befriended Jittoku, a kitchen-hand in the nearby Guoqing temple. Jittoku would give his friend leftover food from the temple, and in return Kanzan would read his humble colleague his poems. Here Jittoku, holding a bamboo pail, scrutinises his friend's poem with studied concentration, while Kanzan's expression is one of shy anticipation. There is a rich harmony between the two: the kitchen-hand and the poet are equals. Although Rosetsu has carefully distinguished the two in his handling of the brushwork, Kanzan's sharp definitive lines contrast with Jittoku's more unruly brush strokes and washes. Born into the family of a low-ranking samurai, Rosetsu was a pupil of the great master and founder of the Maruyama school, Maruyama Ôkyo, but was expelled and became a versatile individualist. The characters Kanzan and Jittoku capture something of the artist's own spontaneous independence of spirit.
Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg. 280.
Jackie Menzies (Australia) (Author), Art of the Brush - Chinese & Japanese painting calligraphy, Sydney, 1995, 18 (illus.).
'Introduction' by Jackie Menzies, pg. 9-17., Asian Collection Handbook, Art Gallery of New South Wales 1990, 1990, 16, 17 (colour illus.).
Ewen McDonald (Australia) (Editor), The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, Sydney, 1994, 221 (colour illus.).
Bruce James (Australia) (Author), Edmund Capon (England; Australia, b.1940) (Director), Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, Domain, 1999, 280 (colour illus.).
Annabel Davie (Editor), Art Gallery of New South Wales Handbook, Domain, 1988, 81, 82, 83 (illus.).
'Japanese Figure Painting: From the Public to the Personal' by Jackie Menzies, pg. 114-119., Orientations Sep 2000, Sep 2000, 116 (colour illus.). fig.4
'Edo Painting Schools', The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales 2003, 2003, 236-237 (colour illus.). The colour illus. on page 237 is a detail of this work.
Adventures in Asia. An education kit for the Asian gallery 2003, 2003, 11 (colour illus.). card no.11
Art of the brush, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 23 Sep 1995–12 Nov 1995.