Horses and Deer
 Both the horse and deer  features strongly in Japanese art and we have here some of the very best quality examples..

1: Painted by Japanese artist Roko, this exceptionally beautiful scroll, Washing the horse in the river, is being restored with new silk mounts and is due in at the end of July 2010. . With box 295

A  fine painting in the Taisho-early Showa style signed Roko and dating circa 1920. This is likely the work of Sakakibara Roko an artist active from the mid Meiji period who spawned a generation of artists including one of the greatest, Sakakibara Shiho








Year of Horse - 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954,1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026, 2038, 2050

The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people's ethos making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. Ancient people liked to designate an able person as 'Qianli Ma' (a horse that covers a thousand li a day).

People born in the year of the horse have ingenious communicating techniques and in their community they always want to be in the limelight. They are active, clever, kind to others, and like to join in a venture career. They cannot bear too much constraint. However they are interested in only the superficial level of an object, neglecting the essence. Once they suffer from failure, they become pessimistic.





2: The Black Horse by Keigetsu

Sanjin KEIGETSU  /Atsushi ITO

Keigetsu Matsubayashi (1876-1963)
also known as Keigetsu Sanjin/ Ito Atsushi a Nihnga style painter

 Born in Yamaguchi 18.8.1876

Keigetsu Matsubayashi is the Japanese painter who was born Hagi-shi, Yamaguchi . The original family name,  Ito, is his the real name, it is 篤. The character is 子敬. It means: I am the scent of  incense outside, and also means a Tamae fisherman. Ito went to Tokyo in 1893  to study under Yukoku Noguchi and learned the southern school of Chinese painting. This study helped him to explore the depth of his  own  painting. After his teacher died in 1898,  Ito was elevated to  a position of an influential person in the southern school of Chinese painting which was very popular at this time. The style of painting steadily became more popular at the start of the Showa era and was the style was practiced when Ink painting or  sumi  was further popularised by many artists.

Tokonoma scrolls has a number of these Sumi Ink paintings through the collection. It is shown really well in a nice peculiarity to the rendition of what is called the Katsura moon.
(see the animal section with Tanuki, the goose section with geese flying to moon and in the Ume section

The diversity of the work of Keigetsu Matsubayashi can be found in private collections and the National Gallery of Japan.

Keigetsu Matsubayashi (1876-1963))
(The photograph is taken from the
directory of Japanese Painters



With box 325

3: Kinsen hitsu (Painted by Kinsen) Seal: Kinsenn no Ga (Painted by Kinsen)

This beautiful study of a Sika Deer has been restored and is painted by a very well respected and loved painter.

Notes on Kinsen Painter: Kubota Kinsen 久保田金仙 (1875-1954) Kubota Kinsen was born in Kyoto. His father Kubota Beisen and his brother Kubota Beisai were also painters. He worked in a newspaper company as a reporter and was a correspondent in the wars between Japan and China, and later with Russia.

Incidentally, there is another painter listed called Kinsen Suzuki (1867-1945) .
Kinsen Suzuki was born in Wakayama in 1867 and studied "Nan-ga" under Tsukushi Suiun. Since he could not get a job with Nan-ga painting, he studied ukiyo-e by himself, and drew many kuchi-e for "koudan-bon" (book for story telling), and illustrations for Kobe Newspapers. His illustrations had reputations for their historical accuracy. It was said that 70-80% of illustrations for all the koudan books published in Osaka were Kinsen's. We have a scroll painted by this artist in the New Addtions page of Jirojin and Tsuru.


The scroll was recently restored and remounted with a matching antique silk covered box. 275

The Sika Deer, also known as the Spotted Deer or the Japanese Deer (Cervus nippon) is a species of deer that is native to much of East Asia, and also introduced to various parts of the world. It was previously found from Vietnam to the south and Russia to the north. Their name comes from "shika" (鹿?), the Japanese word for "deer". The sika deer is not to be confused with the sitka deer, which is a subspecies of the mule deer, a distantly related species.

During one of my many visits to Japan I photographed these Sika Deer at Deer Park in Nara. Held in high esteem by Buddhists, these deer, designated as National Treasures, are wandering about the crowds that come to this holy site in Nara, south of Tokyo, and are regularly fed on crackers/deer biscuits, by visitors


Nara Park (奈良公園 Nara Kōen?) is a public park located in the city of Nara, Japan, at the foot of Mount Wakakusa, established in 1880. Administratively, the park is under the control of Nara Prefecture. The park is one of the "Places of Scenic Beauty" designated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The over 1,200 wild sika deer (シカ or 鹿 shika) freely roaming around in the park is also under designation of MEXT, classified as a "Natural Monument." While the official size of the park is about 502 ha, the area including the grounds of Tōdai-ji, Kōfuku-ji and Kasuga Shrine, which are either on the edge or surrounded by Nara Park, is as large as 660 ha.

Jinrikisha (人力車, or ricksha) services can be found nearby the entrances to popular sites as Tōdai-ji or Kōfuku-ji.

While Nara Park is usually associated with the broad areas of the temples and the park proper, there are now previously private gardens open to public. These gardens make use of the temple buildings as adjunct features of their landscapes.

The park is also home to the Nara National Museum and Todai-ji, where the largest wooden building in the world houses a 50' tall statue of Buddha

According to local folklore, deer from this area were considered sacred due to a visit from one of the four gods of Kasuga Shrine, Takenomikazuchi-no-mikoto.[2] He was said to have been invited from Kashima, Ibaraki,and appeared on Mt. Mikasa-yama riding a white deer. From that point, the deer were considered divine and sacred by both Kasuga Shrine and Kōfuku-ji.

Killing one of these sacred deer was a capital offense punishable by death up until 1637, the last recorded date of that law having been enforced

Post World War II the deer were officially stripped of their sacred/divine status, and were instead designated as National Treasures and are protected as such.

Today, visitors can purchase deer-crackers (鹿煎餅 Shika-senbei) to feed the deer in the park