Portrait of Sato Issai (age 50)

Watanabe KazanEdo period, dated 1821 (Bunsei 4)

Tokyo National Museum

Tokyo National Museum
Tokyo, Japan

Satō Issai (1772–1859) was an authority on Confucianism: he was an official Confucian teacher of the shogunate and was said to have three thousand disciples. He asked several painters to paint his portrait on occasions that marked the stages of his life. This portrait was made when he turned fifty. Twenty-nine years old Kazan Watanabe (1793–1841), who was a disciple in Confucian study, painted this piece with exceptional care, by starting painting only after drawing well over ten sketches. The fruits of his thorough sketches using Western drawing techniques are shown in the expressions of the face, e.g., the eyes and the mouth. Those are in harmony with the clothes expressed in the traditional Eastern style of painting. The praise pasted on the picture was added by Issai himself three years after this portrait was painted.


  • Title: Portrait of Sato Issai (age 50)
  • Creator: Watanabe Kazan
  • Date Created: Edo period, dated 1821 (Bunsei 4)
  • Physical Dimensions: w502 x h806 mm
  • Object Title: 佐藤一斎(五十歳)像
  • Object Notes(Japanese): 佐藤一斎(1772~1859)は、幕府儒官となり、門人3000人ともいわれた儒学の大家で、生涯の節目に数人の画家に描かせた肖像画を残す。そのうち、この50歳像は、儒学の弟子であった29歳の渡辺崋山(1793~1841)が、10数度の画稿を経て制作した入念な一作。目や口などの顔貌表現に、西洋画法を取入れた徹底した写生の成果が表われ、伝統的な東洋画法に則った衣の表現と、無理なく調和している。図上に貼付された賛は、この肖像が描かれた3年後に、一斎自身が書き加えたものである。
  • Object Date: 江戸時代・文政4年(1821)
  • Medium(Japanese): 絹本着色
  • Donor(Japanese): 河田燕氏寄贈
  • Donor: Mr. Kawada Yasushi
  • Artist Name: 渡辺崋山筆
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: http://www.emuseum.jp/detail/100340
  • Medium: Color on silk

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