Suminoe Buzen, Mt Fuji and Shiraito Falls, a hanging scroll painting


British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

Beneath Mt. Fuji, the most famous and celebrated mountain in Japan, is shown the well-known beauty spot, Shiraito Falls. The name means 'white threads', which is exactly how Buzen has painted them. The trees across the centre of the painting, which divide the composition horizontally, look more like individual leaves, with the trunks and branches forming veins.

The most noticeable feature of this painting is its relationship with other craft processes. Buzen (1734-1806) was experienced in engraving; here the generally muted tones, and the central trees and rocks below in particular, are reminiscent of imported Western copper-plate etchings. Buzen had studied painting with Tsukioka Settei (1710-86), but he was an original painter who stood outside of any school. Here he does not seem to be concerned with the possibilities of brush and ink effects, and has rejected the use of applied white pigment for the cascading water.

The signature reads ‘Yūzen hitsu; Buzen sha' ('From the brush of Yūzen, copied by Buzen') and the seal reads 'Dōkan' (one of the artist's art names). It is not known if this Yūzen is the same figure as Miyazaki Yūzen (died 1758), who perfected a revolutionary technique for dyeing pictures into cloth in the early eighteenth century.


  • Title: Suminoe Buzen, Mt Fuji and Shiraito Falls, a hanging scroll painting
  • Date Created: 1750/1799
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 57.30cm; Width: 88.40cm; Height: 174.00cm (mount); Width: 110.00cm (mount)
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: painted
  • Subject: landscape; waterfall/cascade
  • Registration number: 1881,1210,0.815
  • Production place: Painted in Japan
  • Producer: Painted by Suminoe Buzen. After Yuzen, Someya
  • Period/culture: Edo Period
  • Material: paper; silk
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Anderson, William

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