This scroll is a collaboration by three of the most important artists of their time, two of whom were master and student. The painting was created in three stages. Hoitsu, the master, first painted bamboo in the upper left; Kiitsu, his pupil, then added a blossoming plum branch at the bottom, leaving space for Bōsai to add a poem about these plants in energetic calligraphy. Because bamboo is evergreen and the plum tree blooms in winter at the time of the Lunar New Year, these motifs symbolize longevity and renewal in east Asian art. They also symbolize a Confucian principle of uprightness and perseverance. It is likely the painting was composed when the three friends were together celebrating the New Year. It is unusual for these three artists to work in ink; they are usually associated with boldly colored decorative screens.
From Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 89 (2015)
Artist Sakai Hoitsu, Japanese, 1761-1828
Artist Suzuki Kiitsu, Japanese, 1796-1858
Artist Kameda Bosai, Japanese, 1752-1826
Title
  • Bamboo and Plum Tree
Date 19th century
Medium Painting on paper
Dimensions Overall: 71 1/4 × 13 inches (181 × 33 cm)
Image: 39 inches × 10 3/4 inches (99.1 × 27.3 cm)
Installed: 72 inches × 13 1/8 inches × 7/8 inches (182.9 × 33.3 × 2.2 cm)
Credit Line Museum Purchase, Robert H. Tannahill Foundation Fund
Accession Number 2013.43
Department Asian Art
Not On View
Marks Stamps, in red, following each inscription: [three seals]
Inscriptions Inscribed, along right
Inscribed, at lower right corner
Inscribed, at left
(Koichi Yanagi Oriental Fine Arts, New York, New York, USA);
2013-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)