Shibata Zeshin | Letter
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 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."
Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891)
Letter to Gosetsu, 1856
Ink on paper
14.5 x 41.5 cm (5¾ x 15¼ in.)
Mounting 104.5 x 44.5 (41 x 17½ in)