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長谷川等伯 Hasegawa Tōhaku (1539-1610)

Hasegawa Tōhaku was born in 1539 in Nanao, a town in Noto Province (located in the vicinity of present-day Ishikawa prefectures) to a noted local family of cloth dyers, although evidence shows that Tōhaku's original family name was Okumura and that he was adopted into the Hasegawa family.

Tōhaku started his artistic career as a painter of Buddhist paintings in his home province of Noto. By the age of 20 Tōhaku was a professional painter, and by his thirties he had moved to Kyoto to study under the prestigious Kanō School, then headed by Kanō Shōei. The Kanō School was well known at the time for their large bold paintings that decorated the castle walls of many a wealthy warlord patron. These were often ink on white paper or gold-leaf decorative wall panels that served a dual purpose of reflecting light around the dim castle rooms as well as flaunting the castle owner's abundant wealth to commission such extravagant pieces. Many of Tōhaku's earlier works are in the style of the Kanō school, such as his Maple, Chishaku-in painted in 1593.

At the same time he also studied the older Sung, Yuan and Muromachi periods' styles of ink painting by examining scrolls from Mu Qi and Sesshū Tōyō, which he is believed to have gained access to in his time at the Daitoku-ji temple in Kyoto.[3] After a period of time in Kyoto, Tōhaku developed his own style of Sumie which in many ways departed from the bold techniques indicative of the Kanō School, and called back to the minimalism of its predecessors. The works of Sesshū Tōyō in particular influenced Tōhaku's redirection of artistic style as Tōhaku also studied under Sesshū's successor, Toshun for some time. Tōhaku was in fact so much enamored with the techniques of Sesshū Tōyō that he attempted to claim rights as his fifth successor, though he lost in a court battle to Unkoku Togan.[1] Still, the influence of Sesshū is evident in many of Tōhaku's mid to late works, such as his famous Shōrin-zu byōbu (松林図 屏風) Pine Trees screen, which were declared a national treasure of Japan are argued to be the first paintings of their scale to depict only pine trees as subject matter.

The school founded by Hasegawa Tōhaku is known today as the Hasegawa school. This school was small, consisting mostly of Tōhaku and his sons. However small, its members conserved Tōhaku's quiet and reserved aesthetic, which many attribute to the influence of Sesshū as well as his contemporary and friend, Sen no Rikyū. It is suspected that these simple aesthetics protest the usage of intimidation and wealth rampant in the Kanō School.

Tōhaku's most noted contemporary was Kanō Eitoku who often competed with Tōhaku for the patronage of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. After Eitoku's death in 1590, Tōhaku stood alone as the greatest living master of his time. He became the official painter for Hideyoshi, and produced some of his greatest and most elegant paintings under his patronage. He and his atelier produced the wall and screen paintings in Shoun-ji (temple), commissioned by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1593. The paintings were moved to Chishaku-in (temple), Kyoto and have survived. At the age of 67, Tōhaku was summoned to Edo and granted the priestly title of hōgen by the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. There he stayed for the remainder of his life.



Boston (Mus. of Fine Arts) :

Singes, encre sur papier, paravents à six feuilles.

龍虎図屏風 Dragon et tigre, encre sur papier, paire de paravents.

Kyōto (Temple Chishaku-In):

Érable entouré d'herbes d'automne, couleurs sur fond d'or sur papier, quatre portes à glissière.

Portraits d'arhats, paravent.

Kyōto (Ryōsoku-in) :

Les Sept Sages du bosquet de bambous, paravent.

Kyōto (Nat. Mus.):

Bois de pins, encre sur papier, paire de paravents à six feuilles, au registre des Trésors nationaux.

Singes dans les arbres dénudés, encre sur papier, deux rouleaux en hauteur, au registre des Biens Culturels notoires.



等伯の說話画 : 南禅寺天授庵の襖絵
Tōhaku no setsuwaga : Nanzenji Tenjuan no fusumae
Fusuma paintings by Hasegawa Tōhaku : a narrative art at Tenjuan, Nanzenji

禅宗祖師図 Zenshū soshi-zu
禅機図 Zenki-zu
16 面
Tenju-an subtemple of Nanzen-ji Temple, Kyoto, Important Cultural Property, 1602


懶瓚煨芋図(らんさんわいうず) Ransan waiu zu

長谷川等伯 「禅宗祖師図」(部分) 南禅寺天授庵 1602
南嶽明瓚 Nanyue Mingzan (8th c.), aka 懶瓚 Lanzan, or “Lazy Zan”


南泉斬猫図 Nansen zanmyō zu

Nanquan kills a cat
南泉普願 Nanquan Puyuan (748-835)
長谷川等伯「禅宗祖師図」(部分) 南禅寺天授庵 1602 The monks of the eastern and western halls were arguing about a
cat. Nanquan picked it up and said to the monks, “Say the
appropriate word and you'll save the cat. If you don't say the
appropriate word then it gets cut in two!”
The monks were silent. Nanquan cut the cat in two.
Later, Zhaozhou returned from outside the temple and Nanquan
told him what had happened. Zhaozhou then removed his sandals,
placed them on his head, and went out.
Nanquan said, “If you had been there, the cat would have been



五祖・六祖図 Goso rokuso zu

長谷川等伯「禅宗祖師図」(部分) 南禅寺天授庵 1602


船子夾山図 Sensu Kassan zu

「船子夾山図 (せんすかっさんず) 」

重要文化財 禅宗祖師図 天授庵方丈障壁画
長谷川等伯「禅宗祖師図」(部分) 南禅寺天授庵 1602

船子德诚 Chuanzi Decheng (820-858), ”The Boatman Monk”


Sensu Kassan  船子・夾山
Ch: Chuanzi Jiashan. A painting subject of the meeting between the Chinese Zen 禅 priests Chuanzi (Jp:Sensu 船子) and Jiashan (Jp: Kassan 夾山) during the 9c. Chuanzi, after leaving monastic life, took a job ferrying a small boat across the river at Songjiang 松江, present day Shanghai 上海. While on his boat, Chuanzi was fond of instructing his passengers about finding self-realization, lifting an oar and asking "Do you understand?" He thus gained the nickname the priest Ferryman (Ch: Chuanzi Heshang; Jp: Sensu Oshou 船子和尚). One day the priest Jiashan (805-880) came on board the boat and Chuanzi engaged him in a dialogue. According to one version, Chuanzi threw Jiashan into the water, then hit him three times with his paddle, whereupon Jiashan reached enlightenment. In any case, Chuanzi, realizing that in Jiashan he had found a worthy successor, jumped into the river and sank. Typically paintings show Jiashan on the boat and Chuanzi in the water. Among Japanese painting on the subject, Hasegawa Touhaku's 長谷川等伯 (1539-1610) screen painting Zenshuu soshi-zu 禅宗祖師図 in Nanzenji Tenjuan 南禅寺天授庵, Kyoto, is well known.


Hasegawa Tōhaku, (born 1539, Nanao, Japan —died March 20, 1610 , Edo [now Tokyo]), Japanese painter of the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1574–1600) and the founder of the Hasegawa school of painting or painters.Early in his career in Noto province (now in Fukui prefecture), Hasegawa painted Buddhist pictures including “Picture of Twelve Devas” (Ishikawa Shōkaku Temple), “Portrait of Takeda Shingen” (Seikei Temple of Mount Kōya), and “Portrait of Nawa Nagatoshi.” About 1571 he moved to Kyōto and studied the painting of the Kanō school of painters. He was strongly influenced by Sesshū, a 15th-century master of suiboku-ga (“water-ink painting”), and even named himself Sesshū V. He also studied the painting of the Sung and Yüan dynasties of 10th–14th-century China, becoming a master of these styles. About 1589 he painted a suiboku sansui (“landscape painting in water ink”) on sliding doors in the Daikoku Temple, and in 1591 he and his disciples painted the “Dai-kimbeki shōheki-ga” (a great wall painting with the emphasis on the colours of gold and blue) of the Shōun Temple, commissioned by chief imperial minister Toyotomi Hideyoshi for his son, who had been born prematurely and had died. Tōhaku's remaining works may be divided into two styles: one is that of a free-hearted spirit, expressing the masculine and candid atmosphere of the age, represented by “Picture of Flowers and Trees” (Chishaku Temple) and “Picture of Willow Tree and Bridge”; the other style is that of kotan (“elegant simplicity”), expressed in black-ink paintings such as “Picture of Pine Forest” (Tokyo National Museum) and “Picture of Monkey in Dead Trees” (Ryōsen Temple, part of Myōshin Temple). Having been a Nichiren-sect Buddhist, he was associated with Nittsū, the holy priest of the Honpō Temple, who recorded Tōhaku's theory of painting in “Tōhaku ga-in” (“Studio of Tōhaku”) in the 1590s. In 1603 Tōhaku was raised to the hōkyō (“divine bridge,” one of the honourable ranks given to artists and doctors by the imperial house). Toward the end of his life, he painted figure-paintings in the black-ink style, patterned after the genpitsu-tai (literally, “the style of fewest strokes”) of Liang Chieh, though these works are coarse and rough.

Encyclopædia Britannica




"Pine Trees"
The painting has been designated as National Treasure in the paintings category.
156.8 x 356.0 cm
Tokyo National Museum


Portrait of Sen no Rikyū by 長谷川等伯 Hasegawa Tōhaku
(Calligraphy by 春屋宗園 Shun'oku Sōen, 1529-1611)