Posted by: softypapa | October 16, 2007

Antique Japanese Scroll – Sumi-e Calligraphy Suibokuga


Vintage Japanese ink and wash scroll painting with calligraphy.  This form of painting is also sometimes called simply ‘wash’ painting and in Japanese is called sumi-e or suibokuga painting.  Using only brush-applied black ink on paper this type of painting was introduced into Japan in the 14th century by Zen Buddhist monks visiting from China.  This type of art is especially well suited to Japanese tastes which tend toward subtle depictions of life and nature often accented with poetry written in beautiful calligraphy.

About the Listed Item

This wonderful old scroll captures well the Japanese love of moon viewing as we see a crescent moon hanging above a single tree branch yielding numerous plum blossoms.  The plum blossom was once more greatly favored than the bloom of the cherry tree, as the plum tree was admired for its courage in blooming while the chill air of winter was still lingering in the air.  Cherry trees will only bloom later after the arrival of spring.  This scroll dates from the mid Japanese Showa period (1926-1989) or before and is today in poor condition with many wrinkles as well as tears, holes, stains and discoloration.  The scroll and rollers may need some repair and cleaning before the piece is ready for display.

Approximate Size:
Height of entire scroll: 33.9 inches (87 centimeters)
Width of entire scroll (excluding rolling pin): 13.7 inches (35 centimeters)
Weight: 4.7 ounces (135 grams)

Click here to see more scrolls!
here to see more Japanese art!
here to see more calligraphy art!
here to see additional treasures from Japan!

item code: R4S6-0003447
category code: nihonga calligraphyart
ship code: B or other appropriate



  1. My GoogleAlert for sumi-e brought me the link to your blog this morning. I was delighted to see it as I discovered your flickr page a couple of weeks back. I have been a sumi-e student for many years and admire the paintings of sumi-e masters (which I’ll never be). I plan to visit your blog often.
    Thank you!

  2. Hello Pat, Thank you for visiting and for your very kind words about our blog and Flickr photo archive. I certainly share your interest in sumi-e and it’s nice to have a chance to share these lesser seen pieces with others. Good luck with your own art pieces and thank you again for visiting and commenting! Sincerely, -Kurt 🙂

  3. It’s such a lovely scroll, I do wish I could hang it in my own bedroom. Whose artist is this scroll? Or is it much too ancient and unknown?

    • Hello Marie, I’m afraid that we do not know the name of the artist. Thank you for visiting and commenting. -Kurt

  4. what does the scroll say ? just wondering (: it is for a school assessment (:

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