Hashimoto Kansetsu

Japanese, (1883–1944)



Ink on silk

Gift of Mrs. T.R. Harney


Often mistaken for a badger, the tanuki is an animal of the dog family that resembles a raccoon. Although the tanuki is wild, it invades domestic habitats, often stealing food, a reputation that has fostered its reputation as a trickster. The Japanese credit it with supernatural powers, including the ability to transform itself into human form (especially the guise of priests) and to assume the form of inanimate objects such as teakettles.

Kansetsu was a well-known painter and influential teacher. His moody, soft, moist style is evidenced in this hanging scroll, which was painted early in his career. The varied textures of leaves and fur are captured through the limited application of skillful brushstrokes placed to the lower right side of the silk surface, in the popular “one-corner” style. Developed first in China, it was employed by many schools of Korean and Japanese painting.

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