Shôhaku often took his subjects from Chinese mythology, with a noted preference for recluses, eccentrics and such well-known figures as the Daoist Eight Immortals. Here he has chosen the Chinese poet Lin Hexing (in Japanese, Rinnasei) who, although described as a poet, did not want to leave his poems to posterity and hence never committed them to paper. The poet has his back to the viewer, absorbed in his own musings. His unkempt hair and beard, and plain, voluminous robes - realised in the assured, scratchy brushstroke typical of Shôhaku's style - emphasise the poet's indifference to accepted standards of appearance and behaviour. Together with Nagasawa Rosetsu and Ito Jakuchu, Shôhaku is considered one of the three 'eccentrics' of 18th century painting who refused to belong to one of the large studios.
The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.236.
Soga Shôhaku is considered as one of the 'three eccentrics' of the 18th century alongside Itô Jakuchû and Nagasawa Rosetsu. As he was a very popular artist, many paintings are attributed to him as this one from the Meiji period. This painting has a faked seal - on the original seal the bottom line becomes thicker towards the right.
Man standing with hands behind back
Place where the work was made
Meiji period 1868 - 1912 → Japan
hanging scroll; ink on paper
129.8 x 49.6 cm image; 219.8 x 65.4 x 71.6 cm scroll
Signature & date
Signed: "Heian Kishin-sai, Soga Shôhaku Dôjin, Taira-no TERUTAKA zu [Kishin-sai, Taoist Soga Shôhaku, Taira-no DERUTAKA from Kyoto painted (this)]" and "Jasoku-ken Shôhaku [artist's seal]". Not dated. ink. Note that this inscription is in Japanese and was translated by YOSHIDA Haruki, an independent scholar, Canberra. "Kishin-sai" amd "Jasoku-ken" are Shôhaku's studio names. "Taira-no TERUTAKA" is his pseudnym.
Gift of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1963
Not on display
Where the work was made
Shown in 1 exhibition
Art of the brush, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 23 Sep 1995–12 Nov 1995
Referenced in 4 publications
Edmund Capon, The Connoisseur, 'Far Eastern Art in the Art Gallery of New South Wales', pg. 22-29, London, May 1980, 26 (illus.).
Jackei Menzies, The Australian Antique Collector, 'Recent Japanese Acquisitions at the Art Gallery of New South Wales', pg. 90-95, Chippendale, Jan 1981-Jun 1981, 92 (illus.).
Jackie Menzies, Art of the Brush - Chinese & Japanese painting calligraphy, Sydney, 1995, 19.
Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Edo Painting Schools', Sydney, 2003, 236 (colour illus.).