The Red Cliff


TANI, Buncho

谷 文晁
谷 文晁
타니 분쵸

Sumi and color on paper

A subtle and profound landscape by an Edo period master envisaged from a Chinese poem.

에도시대의 거장이 중국의 시에서 그려 낸 그윽한 풍경화

Buncho Tani was in his later years when he painted this picture in 1826 (Bunsei 9). He was already displaying a huge influence as an outstanding figure in the literati painting school of the Kanto region. The landscape paintings by Buncho in the Bunka-Bunsei era (1804-1830) are characterized by an attitude to place emphasis on old paintings, a realistic tendency coming from an interest in representation of real sceneries, and expressions typical of ink painting brimming with vapor. The influence of masters of Chinese ink painting such as Xia Gui and Yu-jian can also be identified in this painting. It even demonstrates the level of representation of nature beyond sketching achieved in those days.

This is an image from Chi-bi fu (My First Visit to the Red Cliff), lyrics of the magnificent view of a precipice facing the Yangtze River, by Su Shi, a great poet of the Song dynasty. The content is as follows. “In the bright moonlight in early autumn, Su Shi drinks and sings with his guest. The guest accompanies Su Shi’s song with a flute. Su Shi asks why the tone is so full of sorrow and the guest answers it is because he was lamenting over the transience of life. To this, Su Shi explains the variability and invariability of things and urges his guest to accept the refreshing breeze on the river and the beauty of the bright moon at the ridge of the mountain. After talking together and pouring drinks for each other, the two got carried away and fell asleep.”