The Chinese Taoist Immortals, Han-shan and Shih-te (Kanzan and Jittoku)

Artist: Hashimoto Gahō 橋本雅邦 (1835-1908)
Historical period(s)
Meiji era, 1886
Ink and slight tint on paper
H x W (image): 122 × 58.1 cm (48 1/16 × 22 7/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

Daoism, Daoist Immortals, Japan, kakemono, Meiji era (1868 - 1912)

To 1902
Ernest Francisco Fenollosa (1853-1908), New York, NY, and Spring Hill, AL, to 1902 [1]

From 1902 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Ernest Francisco Fenollosa in 1902 [2]

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


[1] See Original Kakemono List, L. 284, pg. 66, 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)

Ernest Francisco Fenollosa (C.L. Freer source) 1853-1908
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


The Chinese hermits known in Japanese as Kanzan (Hanshan in Chinese) and Jittoku (Shide in Chinese), lived near the sacred mountain Tiantaishan during the Tang dynasty (618-907). They appear frequently in Zen Buddhist paintings, in which they represent rejection of the secular world. Here Kanzan opens a scroll of his poetry, while Jittoku, a servant at a monastery, looks on.

Gaho's composition exploits contrasts of dark and light tones and sets the figures in a conventional but highly simplified landscape. The painting was shown in an exhibition organized by the Kangakai (Society for the Appreciation of Paintings), which had been organized by the American Ernest F. Fenellosa (1853-1908) to promote the creation of new Japanese-style paintings. Fenellosa wrote to Charles Lang Freer in 1902 that the painting had created such excitement that "the Emperor asked to borrow it and kept it several months." Fenellosa's influence in persuading collectors abroad to acquire paintings by living Japanese artists whose work he admired may account for the fact that few of the paintings shown in the Kangakai meetings or exhibitions have remained in Japan.

Published References
  • Ernest F. Fenollosa Papers: The Houghton Library, Harvard University. 2 vols., , Japanese ed. Tokyo. vol. 2: pl. 23.
  • Joan Qionglin Tan. Han Shan, Chan Buddhism and Gary Snyder's ecopoetic way. Brighton, England and Portland, OR. back cover.
  • Stephen Little, Edmund J. Lewis. View of the Pinnacle: Japanese Lacquer Writing Boxes. p. 137, fig. 1.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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