Kanzan (Hanshan)

Artist: Yonehara Unkai (1869-1925)
Historical period(s)
Meiji era, ca. 1908
H (overall): 32.2 cm (12 11/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


Buddhism, Japan, Meiji era (1868 - 1912), Zen Buddhism

About 1911
Samurai Shokai, Yokohama, about 1911 [1]

About 1911 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Samurai Shokai, Yokohama, in September 1910 or Spring 1911 [2]

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


[1] See Original Miscellaneous List, S.I. 337, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] Object file, Curatorial Remarks, Lee Johnson, 1993: Freer bought this work in Japan (September 2nd-September 9th, 1910 or February 22-April 4th 1911) on his way to or from China, probably during his stay in Yokohama March 31-April 4, 1911. He bought it from Samurai Shokai, the shop of Nomura Yozo, a dealer who acted as Freer's agent in Japan.

[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)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Samurai Shokai (C.L. Freer source) founded 1894


Kanzan, known in Chinese as Hanshan (Cold Mountain), was a legendary recluse who may have written an anthology of poems titled Poems of Cold Mountain. He was frequently depicted by Zen Buddhist artists, who believed that he had attained enlightenment despite his disheveled appearance and eccentric behavior.

The sculptor Yonehara Unkai was initially trained as a master carpenter, but decided to study wood sculpture with Takamura Koun (1852-1934) from 1890, winning his first award for sculpture only two years later. This carving of Kanzan closely resembles the piece for which Unkai was awarded third prize in the second annual Bunten exhibition sponsored by Japan's Ministry of Education. This figure, purchased in Yokohama, Japan, by Charles Lang Freer in 1910 or 1911, may have been a study for the prize-winning work or a copy of it.

Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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