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9. Mori Sosen (1747-1821)
Saru, Monkey
Signed: Sosen
Seals: Morikata
Technique: sumi on paper 97 x 28.5
Date: first month of spring 1800
Mounting: brown damask and green silk
wooden rollers, 189 x 42
Box: inscribed
Condition: very good

Sosen has always been Japan's most famous monkey painter. He lived in Osaka, and like his older brothers Yôshin (1730-1822) and Shûhô (1738-1823) he studied Kanô painting under Yamamoto Joshunsai (..-1781) and became a Kanô style painter. His studies of living macaques turned him to shaseiga. Some say he that he raised them to study, others say that he lived in the woods for a while observing them in their free state. His adopted son Tetsuzan, one of Õkyo 's ten best pupils seems to have him introduced to shaseiga, which is considered the basis of the Maruyama school; Sosen is considered to have been a member. Because of Sosen's fascination for wild animals an old friend and Confucian scholar Shibano Ritsuzan (1736-1807) persuaded Sosen to change the first character of his name into the character for "stalking", or "beast" in 1807. Although Sosen specialized in monkeys, he was a very good painter of animals in general, and of deer in particular.

Araki p. 628
Hillier p. 251-256 (# 192-198)
Berry '01 pp. 178-179 (# 43)
Kansai # 246