A beautiful and rare example of a painted mounting (kaki-byoso). "A type of mounting in which a frame of a picture or a calligraphy on paper or silk is painted with pigments to give the appearance of a frame on the same surface as the painting, as if it were actually mounted with fabric decorated with various designs." (Dictionary of Japanese Art Terms, p. 94).
Shoki the deamon queller. According to legend Shoki was a Tang-period scholar who committed suicide after failing to pass the civil-service examination. Posthumously honored by the emperor, he swore, through his ghost, to protect the empire from demons. He then became a top official with the heavenly Ministry of Exorcism. Known in Japan as a demon queller, the fierce looking and bearded Shoki is widely represented in art. In the late Edo period, Shoki's image began appearing on kites and the banners flown for tango no sekku also known as Ayame no hi (Iris festival), the fifth day of the fifth month observance originally meant to ward off demon-caused ill fortune. (Merrily Baird, Symbols of Japan, p. 203-205).
Kawai Gyokudo born in Aichi Prefecture, worked largely in Tokyo. To Kyoto at 15 to study under Mochizuki Gyokusen and Kono Bairei. Later to Tokyo to become a pupil of Hashimoto Gaho. Exhibited with Bunten, serving as member of the selection committee for the first show in 1907 and later with the Teiten. In his later years taught at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts. Member of the Art Committee of the Imperial Household and of the Imperial Art Academy. (Roberts, p. 72)
Kawai Gyokudo (1873-1957)
Shoki the Demon Queller, dated 1901
Ink and color on fabric
149 x 36 cm (58 1/2 x 14 in.)
Old box with inscription