Sakai Hoitsu

Hoitsu poem

Sakai Hoitsu, (1761-1828)

peonies in evening rain shower

ink and colors on silk; Hoitsu with artist's seal Bunsen, the poem signed Bosai rojin sui dai (by drunken aged Bosai), with artist's seals Zenshin and Choko no in; the outer edge of the rolled scroll with sumi ink inscription: Hoitsu ko, Bosai san; and accompanied by storage box with inscription: Hoitsu botan ga, Bosai Sensei san (Hoitsu painting of peonies, Bosai master calligrapher), the interior of the lid with paper collection label, Sakai-ke

painting 41 by 16 1/8 in., 104 by 40.8 cm
overall 74 by 20 1/2 in., 188 by 52 cm

This painting inscribed with a poem is an example of a gassaku, a collaborative work by two or more artists. The calligraphy is by Kameda Bosai (1752-1826), a close friend of Hoitsu who was also well-known for his poetry and paintings. The poem evokes the season, weather, and even the time of the day:

Viewing the refined peony blossoms in December,
the fine fragrance and bright red color
in the drizzling rain of the early evening of spring

The peony, a flower associated with late spring or early summer, was a classic subject for Rinpa artists who were traditionally attentive to flowers of the seasons. A dynamic painting in the Clark Family Collection, Peonies in the Wind, with the blossoms bending dramatically in the wind (but without the bands of rain on this work), was recently shown at the Clark Center for Japanese Art & Culture as part their exhibition, Kamisaka Sekka, 1866-1942: Tradition and Modernity (May 5 - July 28, 2012). A gassaku painting of a larger grouping (but static) red and white peonies with two small butterflies and a poem by Bosai is in the collection of the Kurokawa Kobunka Kenkyujo (Kurokawa Institute of Ancient Cultures) in Hyogo Prefecture.

Kobayashi Tadashi, Rinpa Painting: Seasonal Flowering Plants and Birds, Vol. II, Shikosha Publishing Co., Ltd, 1990, nos. 90-104


Sakai Hoitsu signature


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site last updated
January 17, 2022

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475