Asian Art
Artist: Ike Taiga, Japanese, 1723–1776

Moonlight Bamboo

ca. 1758–60

Six-panel folding screen: ink on paper

without mounting: 60 15/16 x 141 1/8 in. (154.8 x 358.4 cm) with mounting: 67 5/8 x 147 13/16 in. (171.8 x 375.4 cm)
Leonard C. Hanna, Jr., Class of 1913, Fund
2005.12.1
Ike Taiga was arguably the most celebrated literati artist in eighteenth-century Japan. In this painting, Taiga’s gigantic bamboo trunks, embellished with clusters of leaves rustling in a light breeze, are formed in superb ink tonalities. Taiga’s poem reads, “Playing the koto [zither] in a bamboo grove, the moon came from a thousand miles away (to shine on me).” Though there is no moon in the composition, bamboo leaves in light ink evoke the illumination of the moon. The empty area at right represents a meditative space. Salter’s works reflect a profound understanding of the Zen philosophy of “nothingness,” and she speaks of her works as places where she can “disappear” while she is making them.
Culture: 
Japanese
Period: 
Edo period (1615–1868)
Classification: 
Paintings
Geography: 
Japan
Status: 
Not on view
Provenance: 

This screen was owned by the family of Shibata Genshichi in Omi on the shores of Lake Biwa, northeast of Kyoto. People from this area commissioned Taiga, particularly when he was relatively young, in his thirties. The painting style of this screen indicates a date circa 1758 when he would have been around 35 years old, and it corresponds with the time of Taiga's activities in that region.

Bibliography: 

Sadako Ohki, “Japanese Art at Yale,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2007): 42.

Sadako Ohki, “What Makes Japanese Painting Japanese,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2007): 66–70, 78–80, fig. 1, 2.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.