7335 Yokoyama Kazan (1784-1837)
A pair of six-fold paper screens painted in ink on a silver ground with a hundred terrapins, a single minogame (auspicious long-tailed terrapin) and a frog in a rocky river landscape with pine and bamboo
Seal: Ka and Zan
Japan, 18th/19th century, Edo period
Dimensions: 99 x 369 cm (39 x 145½ in) each
Yokoyama Kazan lived and worked in Kyoto. He first studied under Hijikata Torei (1735 or 1741-1807) and the founder of the Kishi school of Japanese painting Kishi Ganku (1749–1839) but later turned to the co-founder of the rival Maruyama-Shijō School Matsumura Goshun (1752-1811). He specialised in figure painting and kachō-ga (bird and flower paintings), amalgamating both the Kishi and Shijo Schools in his style.
The minogame (auspicious long-tailed terrapin) of a thousand years is one of the four supernatural animals (tiger, dragon, phoenix, terrapin) of Chinese mythology. One representation of the terrapin has some of the features of the dragon, generally the head, but the most common is of the sacred animal with a long tail, said to grow when it is over five hundred years old, the origin of which is probably due to the fact that terrapins kept in ponds become covered with a parasitic growth of vegetable origin which resembled the Mino, or rain coat of peasants, hence Minogame.
Works by the artist can be found in the collections of: Brooklyn Museum, New York; Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Massachusetts; British Museum, London; Yamagata Museum of Art, Yamagata; Tokyo National Museum of Art, Tokyo.