- By Mori Sosen
- Two Kakemono, coloured; each, 3 feet 5½ inches by 1 foot 3 1/3 inches.
- Owned by Marquis Munenori Date
Mori Sosen, otherwise known as Morikata or Reimyôan, was born in 1747 at Nishinomiya, Settsu, or at Nagasaki according to another authority, afterwards removing to Ôsaka. While he was engaged in painting pictures of various sorts in the style of the Kano school the happy thought came to him all of a sudden that the application of one's whole attention to one subject is the only way for a man of limited talent to win great fame. From that time on he applied himself exclusively to the life-like drawing of monkeys, in which he became a famous, indeed an unrivaled artist. While in Nagasaki he is said to have asked a hunter to catch a monkey alive. On obtaining it he fastened it to a tree in his garden, sat himself down near it and sketched it from day to day in different attitudes. Once he showed a copy to a friend of his, who though admiring it, said that the monkey was a tame and not a wild one. On this he betook himself to the forest in order to draw a wild monkey, and after untiring effort for several years succeeded. His own manners are said to have become somewhat monkeyish throught his keen interest in the study. The two reproductions here given are excellent specimens of his monkey-pictures. One depicts a mother monkey with her baby on the branch of a plum tree in full bloom; the other shows two old one mourning on a pine tree. That great realistic painter, Maruyama Ôkyo, is said to have imitated Sosen's style of painting animals. These pictures seem to be productions of his younger days. He died in 1821 aged seventy-five.
- 田島志一編 『真美大観 第三册』 日本佛教眞美協會、1900年。