Tao Yuanming Seated Under a Willow
Tani Bunchō, Japanese, 1763 - 1840
Tani Buncho was a leading master of the Japanese literati school in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. His work was often inspired by Chinese prototypes and themes, as in this portrait of Tao Yuanming. Tao Yuanming (365-427) was born into the educated aristocracy and held a number of government positions. When he retired, he returned to his family's ancestral village to live the life of a recluse. Tao served as a model of the cultivated literati, writing poetry, painting, practicing calligraphy, and sharing art, books, and wine with like-minded friends. Here he is shown gazing up at the gourd that contains his wine.