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Monkey

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Painted by: Mori Sōsen (1747-1821), Inscription written by: Ichikawa Beian (1779-1858) Edo Period, 1804-1818JapanPaint and ink on silk 92,2 x 34 cm

The painter Mori Sôsen was famous for his depiction of monkeys. His delicate and naturalistic manner of painting was based on a diligent study of nature, which was characteristic of the Maruyama-Shijô school. Depictions of monkeys, native to Japan’s mountainous regions, are popular in Japanese art. In a religious context, they were considered divine messengers and guardians. This interpretation became more secular and monkeys came to represent prudence and mischief in the 18th century. The famous calligrapher Ichikawa Beian added the inscription of a poem.