"All by myself, calmly chanting a poem about moon in the pines,
When—the Heavenly Dragon with pure voice emits the noblest music!
My sense of hearing purified, my stainless heart washed clean,
Yours is immortal music, sir, the zither of wondrous song!
In the eleventh month of the year, the 14th of the Meiji Period , I painted and inscribed this in the eastern chamber of the mountain home of the Man of Tao, "Tiger," of Matsunishi [i.e., himself, (Little) Tiger being a childhood nickname of his which he continued to use], Ten Chi of the Brilliant Studio."
The poem on the bottom screen reads:
"Beside the River Hsiang in this dusty realm, there I wish to hang my gourd!
Here, by chance, encounter each other these sages from the past.ed it
Beside the stream, for half the day they discuss the Prajñā wisdom:
Utterances of birds, gurgling of the stream — all possess the Heart of Tao.
In the 14th year of Meiji, the year being xinshi, the eleventh month, I painted this and inscribed it in a spot cool in summer and warm in winter. Mountain Woodsman, Chokunyū."
Tanomura Chokunyū (1814-1907) was born in Takeda Village, Bungo province, the third son of a samurai. He was the adopted son of the reknowned literatus Tanomura Chikuden (1777-1835). As well as becoming a Nanga artist Chokunyū studied Chinese Neo-Confucianism and Zen practices, poetry, tea ceremony and swordsmanship. In 1880 he helped establish the Kyoto Municipal School of Fine Arts and Crafts and in 1896 the Japan Nanga Society (Nihon Nanga Kyokai), an organisation that aimed to preserve Japan's literati painting tradition.
A single screen in similar style by the artist is in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accession number 11.4652, go to: https://www.mfa.org/collections/object/landscapes-25071
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