Lao Laizi Expansion

Lao Laizi 


SHIMOMURA, Kanzan (Hokushinsai)
下村 観山 (北心斎)
Birth Year
Death Year
Technique, Material, Format
ink on paper 
52.4 x 35.6 cm 
Donor name
Mr. Irie Hiroshi
Nihonga (Japanese-style Painting) 
Inventory Number

This image that has been copied from a so-called funpon (a collection of sketches for learning classical motifs and techniques) was made by Shimomura Kanzan when he was a boy. In the Kano school, the largest school of painting in the early modern era, they practiced their brushwork by copying funpon images over and over, and having their masters critique them. Kanzan’s teacher was Kano Hogai, who was known as the "last" of the Kano school, and Hashimoto Gaho. This and three other images of Lao Laizi were made when Kanzan was around 10 years of age. While some of the images have corrections added, others have been rated as "excellent." Lao Laizi was a Chinese philosopher during the Spring and Autumn period (approximately 770 to 481 BCE). The scene is a typical funpon motif, depicting the philosopher entertaining his parents by pretending to be a child even though he was already 70 years of age. The images provide clear evidence of the precocious talent of Kanzan, whose skillful linework later produced numerous masterpieces.

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