H x W (overall): 27.3 x 16.8 cm (10 3/4 x 6 5/8 in)
A clearly silhouetted form of a plum branch is executed in ink on a leather ground (cat skin of the Japanese three-stringed instrument, shamisen), the surface of which is greatly yellowed. The branch stretches from right to left and upward of the leather square.
Mounted on panel, in a modern black frame with a light green needlepoint-decorated mat. Wrapped in a yellow muslin bakg, in a new blue cloth slip cover.
1. (Y. Shimizu, December 1980) On the lower right is a signature in two characters written diagonally in the running style of calligraphy, which reads "Roshu." Superimposed over the second character, "shu," is a relief seal (irregular circle) which reads "Roshu." The resilient and water resisting leather did not absorb the thick ink in the middle of the branch. A portion has fallen off from the surface, leaving the area with a stippled texture.
To the upper right of the seal, and directly over the signature appear partial impressions of what can only be the incomplete impression of the same seal in different kind of ink. The color is pinkish red; its surface appears mat; while the complete seal below is orangish vermillion and appears glossy. These two different impressions of the seal can be interpreted as follows: The painter stamped the seal over the signature with water-base vermillion. The leather surface resisted the impression. For a second time the seal was impressed to the lower left partially superimposing the second character of the signature, but this time with different ink, perhaps oil-based, thus leaving the impression more successfully.
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
More Than Flowers: Sources of Tradition in Japanese Painting (September 2, 2001 to November 24, 2002)