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White Monkey

Kawabata Gyokushō (Japanese, 1842-1913)


Gyokushō used the middle of his brush to apply different shades of ink in boldly executed strokes to depict the misty cliff in the upper right and the rocky precipice where a large white monkey sits with its arms folded. His brush technique, called tsuketate, captures both the cragginess of rock and pliant, luxuriant foliage. It also acts to define and highlight the simian’s form.

The white monkey, here gazing into the distance like some aged philosopher, and the inky cliff are Gyokushō’s homage to a work by an early master of the Maruyama-Shijō school. A leading figure in Tokyo art circles, Gyokushō studied both Western and traditional Japanese and Chinese painting.

Purchased by the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2002

Object Information

Kawabata Gyokushō (Japanese, 1842-1913)
creation date
about 1880
ink on silk
49 x 21 1/2 in. (image)
89 x 30 3/4 in. (overall)
mark descriptions
Signature: Gyokusho sha
Seal: Gyokusho
Seal: azana iwaku Shibun
accession number
credit line
Jane Weldon Myers Art Fund
Asian Art