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Fisherman returning home

circa 1785


Matsumura Goshun


1752 – 1811

  • Details

    Other Title
    Fisherman in a forest
    Place where the work was made
    Edo (Tokugawa) period 1615 - 1868 → Japan
    circa 1785
    Media categories
    Scroll , Painting
    Materials used
    hanging scroll; ink and colours on silk
    110.0 x 33.0 cm image; 205.0 x 46.5 x 51.6 cm scroll
    Signature & date

    Signed u.r., in Japanese, ink [inscribed] "Goshun" [and artist's seal]. Not dated.

    Purchased under the terms of the Florence Turner Blake Bequest 1984
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Matsumura Goshun

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Goshun was a leading exponent of the literati or 'nanga' school - one of the major schools of Japanese painting in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Goshun wrote 'haiku' poems and his interpretations of the 'nanga' style are distinguished by their poetry and lyricism. In subject, this painting follows the literati tradition of travellers in a landscape. The lone figure of the fisherman seems disproportionately large, asserting a native Japanese tendency to depict man at one with nature, not overwhelmed by the enormity of the cosmos, the response evoked by many of the Chinese prototypes of this style. This painting shows the 'nanga' delight in delicate surface patterns and subtle, seductive colourings. The fisherman with his straw cape, the pair of ducks and roughly thatched hut underscore the serene, rustic mood of the composition. The painting is regarded as a product of Goshun's mature phase. It was executed in Ikeda (in present day Osaka Prefecture) where Goshun was sent to recover emotionally from the unexpected deaths of both his wife and his father. Goshun stayed at Ikeda from 1781 to 1786 and the work he produced there is regarded as the best of his mature 'nanga' style.

    'Asian Art', AGNSW Collections, 1994, pg. 220

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

    • Art of the brush, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 23 Sep 1995–12 Nov 1995

    • In one drop of water, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Jun 2019–21 Feb 2021

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 5 publications