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Unusual Handscroll Inscription - help please!

Raijin

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Hi everyone!

So I have this strange little handscroll, it is basically a long thin strip of rice paper that has been attached to a long thin paper scroll, which has an inscription and two red seals. The subject matter is a bit of a mystery to me, I thought that it could be a Ruyi, or some kind of abstract Sansui scene, or even a one stroke dragon, but it really just looks like random brushstrokes.

My best attempt at the inscription would be -

人皇八十八代
後嵯峨天皇一皇子
宗尊親王直二十九世末裔
七十四公清水勇敏充書

(The Kanji I am not sure about are in red, but there also may be others that are incorrect)

The first line I think is something like 'The 88th Emperor', and then Go-Saga-tennō is written in the beginning of the second line, and something about an Imperial Prince?(皇子), but from here on out I get a bit confused. I can see two numbers, 29 in line three, and 74 in line four, and there are more kanji pertaining to royalty, direct line of descent /descendant, and I think also a name in line four, presumably the person who wrote the inscription, hence 書?

I am terrible at deciphering seal script, so the seals are also a mystery.

I think the first, tiny one looks like 吉而?(Photo 3) And I can see 嵯峨 in the others.

If anyone can help to shed some light on what is actually being said in the inscription and if my kanji are correct, or what the subject matter actually is, I would be super grateful!

Thanks so much in advance if you can help! :emoji_relaxed:




035.JPG 040.JPG 042.JPG 043.JPG 044.JPG 045.JPG 046.JPG 047.JPG
 

Majestic

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If I'm not mistaken this is a scroll that is purported to be written by the 29th descendant of Munetaka-shinnō, who himself was the first-born (crown prince) of Gosaga-tennō.

Most of the kanji are correct, but I think the last line is
七十四清水勇治(?)敏
You are correct about 書
 

Toritoribe

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I agree with Majestic-san.
後嵯峨天皇一皇子
七十四清水勇治敏
The artist Shimizu Yūji Toshihiro was 74 years old at that time.

As for the seals,
後嵯峨
院後裔
descendant of Gosaga

清水
敏弘
Shimizu Toshihiro

清水
一?(布?)

The one on the third picture doesn't look like 吉而.
 

Raijin

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Wow, that is really interesting!! I thought that the artist must be some descendant of Royalty but I just couldn't piece everything together...
One question, if Shimizu Toshihiro was the 29th descendant of Munetaka-shinnō, would that not just have made him the 30th descendant of Gosaga-tennō?
And do you guys have any opinion on what he has painted here?
As always, thank you so much Majestic and Toritoribe for your help.
 

Toritoribe

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Yes, he is also the 30th descendant of Gosaga-tennō. Munetaka-shinnō is a famous person, too, so he would write the both names, I guess.
I don't have any idea about what is painted, it could be a landscape, or may be something to do with Zen.
 

Majestic

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I think also you should look at the emphasis on the Prince Munetaka lineage as the artist's way of providing distance from the Imperial Family. If the artist claimed to be a direct descendant of the Imperial Family, it could be seen as a challenge to the existing royal family. So by saying he is related to Prince Munetaka, who was a military ruler (shogun) and was never Emperor himself, the artist avoids any weird political conflict.
 

Raijin

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I did wonder why the artist made a distinction between the two generations, I just presumed that laying claim to such an exalted lineage as that of direct descent of an Emperor may be considered gauche in Japan, but of course, the politics of succession is an interesting point.

I did some rudimentary searches of both Zen ink paintings, and 清水勇治敏弘, but I haven't come up with anything at all.

Thank you both so much again for your help!!
 
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