No doubt that Shibata Zeshin was the most prominent lacquer artist of the nineteenth century. And Ikeda Taishin (1825–1903) was his most accomplished and most promising student. But in February of 1856 he left. Taishin left his master, his workshop, his master's house where he has been living for mor than twenty years. And Taishin left for his Grand Tour. A year later he returned and established his own studio in Asakusa, just around the corner from Zeshin.
Taishin's first stop was Kyoto, where he was supposed to visit Gosetsu who was the owner of a sweet's shop, a friend of Shibata Zeshin's, and a collector of paintings. This letter was to announce Ikeda Taishin's visit.
"I write this letter to you as I am enjoying lovely spring like days and tender skies. I hope that nothing stirring happened to you so far. My apprentice Kyuzaburo [=Ikeda Taishin] is studying in Kyoto for a while. And I would like to ask you to let him see the splendid scrolls you have in your house. I am counting on your generous heart. And I am terribly sorry for my messy writing. Please throw this letter in a bank of reed. I will thank you in person sometime soon. - February 11th, Shibata Zeshin to Gosetsu."
If one day you would want to get away from your fancy, feverish, frantic urban life, where would you go? Where would you hope to find a remote, quiet, and contemplative place? - Maybe in the mountains. For centuries, the mountains offered all the blessings a civilized human being was longing for. But Deiryu experienced something completely different. On this tea bowl he draws a different picture. He has written a so called “One Word Barrier” (Jap.: ichiji kan), a form of a Zen calligraphy that features one large character, either by itself or with and inscription in smaller size. The main character is mountain. “The mountains shout hip hip hooray” (yama wa yobu banzei no koe).
Updated: May 25
Rengetsu’s life slowed down at around the age of 75. The long years of travelling, moving, and drifting came to an end in the small village of Nishigamo. In 1865 on the invitation of her friend Wada Gozan she took residence in a humble hut on the temple grounds of Jinko-in, where Gozan was abbot. Since Jinko-in was a remote, quiet, and inspiring place the following years were by far Rengetu’s most productive... BachmannEckenstein | JapaneseArt