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Yanagida Ryūsetsu - Two fierce dragons play in swirling black clouds - Artworks - Joan B Mirviss LTD | Japanese Fine Art | Japanese Ceramics

Two fierce dragons play in swirling black clouds
ca. 1860
Ink and very slight color on paper
25 1/4 x 50 1/4 in. (exclusive of mount)
31 3/4 x 83 1/4 in. (inclusive of mount)
$ 7,850

According to East Asian tradition, the Dragon, sovereign symbol of the Far East, embodies mystery, ferocity and power and is nearly omnipresent in Japanese art as the senior sign of the twelve zodiac animals. It is also the embodiment of the yin principles (water, wind, and darkness). The Dragon and Tiger are traditionally said to represent two of the cardinal directions, namely east and west respectively. In this painting, the swirling clouds, manifesting wind, and the darkness of the dragon’s celestial domain underscore the active serpentine bodies of the two creatures. The composition is inspired by and based on the work of Chen Rong 陳容, a  Southern Song painter celebrated for his paintings of the dragon. For a very similar composition by Chen Rong, please see:

Yanagida Ryūsetsu or Takuryōsai as he is better known, was a student of Kano Shosen-in Tadanobu (1823-79), who was an artist active in Edo as the 10th head of the Kobikicho Kano school and teacher of many celebrated painters including Kano Hōgai and Hashimoto Gahō. Takuryōsai was an artist attached to the Satsuma clan until the Meiji Restoration.


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