Desk screen with design of mountain retreat

Artist: Ogata Ihachi (Kyoto Kenzan II) (active 1720-1760)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, mid-18th century
Buff clay; white slip, iron and ochre pigments under transparent lead glaze
H x W x D: 27.8 x 40.8 x 2 cm (10 15/16 x 16 1/16 x 13/16 in)
Japan, Kyoto prefecture, Kyoto
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Inkstone screen (kenbyo)

Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, landscape, mountain, writing

To 1901
Siegfried Bing (1838-1905), Paris, to 1901 [1]

From 1901 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Siegfried Bing in 1901 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Pottery List, L. 956, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Siegfried Bing (C.L. Freer source) 1838-1905
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


The kenbyo (also read kenpei ), literally an "inkstone protector," is an intimate part of the scholar's desk ensemble. It is set on the far side of the writing equipment, and is considered to slow the evaporation of the ink, which the writer or painter grinds into a solution in a special stone prior to work. The kenbyo is also an object of appreciation in its own right. First becoming popular in Song dynasty China, kenbyo were made from materials such as ceramics, brass, jade, and wood, generally in the shape of the single- or multiple-panel screen used for mounting painting and calligraphy.

Published References
  • Richard L. Wilson. The Potter's Brush: The Kenzan Style in Japanese Ceramics. Exh. cat. Washington. cat. 5, p. 66.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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