Horse, by Sesson Shukei

  • Muromachi period
  • 16c
  • Hanging scroll, ink on paper
  • H-77 W-15.8
Catalogue Entry

Sesson Shukei was a painter monk of the late Muromachi period. He was born in Ota, Hitachi province, in present‐day Fukushima prefecture. His birth and death dates are unknown. Sesson took Sesshu as his own personal painting model, and he also studied Chinese paintings, Sesson left many superb works of landscapes, birds and flower themes and images of gods and immortals, and he created each of his chosen subjects in a distinctive, vivid form. This painting shows a horse from the front, standing with legs spread and the expanse of his chest depicted in the most abbreviated brushstrokes. The horse is intent, serious, and yet somehow appealingly approachable. A cliff is shown in minimal brushwork in the background, and it is possible that the expanse of white paper may represent a waterfall. This composition of one horse facing squarely forward is impressively imposing, redolent of the spirit of sacred horses.