Matsumura Keibun | Letter
Birds on twigs, blooming branches, and foggy landscapes were the world of Matsumura Keibun's art. He painted them with the most delicate inks and colors for wealthy merchants and aristocrats from Kyoto and Osaka. He was the giant standing on the shoulders of Maruyama Okyo and Matsumura Goshun, who was his older brother and teacher.
But in this private letter Keibun wrote to a friend we do not sense Keibun the artist, but someone who returns a flower vase he kept for too long, fixed an umbrella which needed it, and was grateful for a piece of bamboo.
«I respectfully write you and I am extremely glad to have seen you in good health last night. But now, I would like to return these items [a flower vase and an umbrella]. I have had it [=the umbrella] for a long time and I have even mended it. It is now slim and easy to hold. The vase has been cherished for so long that I still cannot stop looking at it. I am sorry that I kept it too long.
I am embarrassed to have bothered your family last time I visited you. Please convey my gratitude towards them too. Moreover, I’d like to thank you for the bamboo that you gave me. I will love to use it. - 11th day of the first month. To Tokuki. Keibun, respectfully returning the old flower vase.»
Matsumura Keibun (1779-1843)
Ink on paper, 17 x 37 cm (6½ x 14½ in.)
Mounting 97 x 45 cm (38 x 17¾ in.)