Flowers blossom in eternal spring and sages stroll the rugged landscape of a mythical paradise on this painting by important artist Shirakura Kanyu (also Jiho or Niho) enclosed in the original signed double wood box titled Horai Senkyo. It is performed with pigment on silk in a fine border of patterned brocades. The scrfoll measures 50 x 190 cm (19-3/4 x 75 inches) and is in excellent condition.
This same scene spans a six panel screen held in the collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
Mt. HOrai (Penglai in Chinese), according to the Classic of Mountains and Seas, is said to be on an island in the eastern sea, where the immortals lived. Historically, Qin Shi Huang, in search of the elixir of life, made several attempts to find the island where the mountain is located, to no avail. Legends tell that Xu Fu, one servant sent to find the island, found Japan instead, and named Mount Fuji as Penglai.
Shirakura Kinichiro (Niho or Jiho, Kanyu, 1896-1974) was born in Niigata, and initially was inducted into Nanga under Hatta Goro. Moving to Tokyo he began studies of Western oil painting following Ishii Hakutei. However, that was unfulfilling, and he soon moved to Kyoto, returning to the Nanga style under Tanabe Chikuson (also Tajika/Tachika Chikuson, 1864-1922). Following the death of Chikuson, he moved to Tokyo where he took up residence in the studio of Komura Suiun. He was consistently displayed at both the Teiten-Nitten National Exhibitions as well as the Nihon Nanga –In Ten. Like other individualistic artists of his generation, he was known for his very unique and easily discernible style and enjoyed immense popularity. He later changed his name to Kanyu. He was recognized in an English book published in 1958 as one of the most important artists to visit when in Japan.