Landscape: Red Cliff

Artist: Ike Taiga 池大雅 (1723-1776)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 18th century
Ink and color on paper
H x W: 213.5 x 71.3 cm (84 1/16 x 28 1/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, kakemono, landscape

To ?
Kawabata Yasunari (1899-1972). [1]

To 1964
Hollis and Mayuyama, Inc., New York. [2]

From 1964
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Hollis and Mayuyama, Inc., New York. [3]


[1] Curatorial remark 2 in the object record. See also copy of invoice from Oct 9, 1964 in the object folder.

[2] Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List after 1920 file, Collections Management Office.

[3] See note 2.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Hollis and Mayuyama, Inc.
Yasunari Kawabata 1899-1972


Ike Taiga, a native of Kyoto, studied Japanese painting before turning toward Chinese subjects and styles. Here, Taiga presents original interpretations of landscapes described by Chinese poets. At right, is the Yueyang tower, located on the Yangtzi River near Lake Dongting. The steep angle of Taiga’s vantage point heightens the viewer’s perception of the great river. At left, the subject is the “Red Cliff,” a site immortalized in poems composed in 1082 by the Song dynasty poet, Su Shi (Su Dongpo, 1037–1101). In Taiga’s painting, a boat passes swiftly below the steep cliff, reflecting the imagery of the poem: "We let our boat float along, sailing over the vast expanse, fascinated by the sensation that we were riding on air…Light and airy, it seemed that we had forsaken the world, and were flying unfettered through the air
like Immortals."

These paintings were once in the collection of Kawabata Yasunari (1899–1972), the first Japanese recipient of the Nobel Prize for literature.

(Translation by Cyril Drummond Le Gros Clark, The Prose Poetry of Su Tung-p’o, 1935.)

Published References
  • Zaigai Nihon no Shiho [Japanese Art: Selections from Western Collections]. 10 vols., Tokyo, 1979 - 1980. vol. 6: pp. 126-127, pls. 11-12.
  • Mayuyama Junkichi. Japanese Art in the West. Tokyo. pl. 280.
  • Kazuo Kurimoto. Ike Taiga sakuhin shu [Collection of Paintings by Ike Taiga]. Tokyo. pl. 224.2.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 54, vol. 2: p. 169.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 134.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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