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Kano school artist signature


5 Jul 2024
Hello. I have a Kano school scroll painting depicting a dragon ascending Fujiyama, but I cannot read the signature. If you can translate I will be very grateful. Any information about the artist would also be appreciated. Thank you!


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法眼源守宣 Hōgen Minamoto Morinobu. The "name" part is Morinobu (守宣), but I can't find any Kanō artist with that name.

The stamp says the same thing, and also includes Echizen + Yamagata (two location names which are associated with a certain branch of the Kanō school). The left-hand side of the signature is 惟時七十一翁僊 (painted by the old hermit at 71 years of age). It means he had become a Buddhist lay priest in his old age, but its common for old artists to do this, or at least to claim this. The kanji in red is different on your painting, and yours is a variant I am unfamiliar with - so it could mean something else, but I'm pretty sure it just means "painted/drawn by"

The part at the right says 狩野囗山囗法眼源守宣 Kanō (something) yama (something) Hōgen Minamoto Morinobu.

"Fuji" is written as 冨士 and Fujiyama would be 富士山. Yours says something different. Could be 藤山 (also pronounced "Fuji-yama"), but then it would point to a different mountain than Japan's famous Mt. Fuji. But the mountain in your painting must surely be Mt. Fuji, so maybe its just a poetic way of referring to Mt. Fuji? Or...some other kanji witih some other meaning?

Anyway, the strange thing to me is that even with all this information, I can't find any other references to this artist. Two possibilities are; Morinobu was an art name that was adopted, and then quickly discarded by one of the Kanō artists. Or, maybe he intended to use it for a long time, but died soon after adopting it, and therefore it doesn't pop up in any searches. Another possibility is that this is a forgery - which is very common around the world in all sorts of antiques. Another option of course is that my search skills are just inadequate to pick up any references to this artist.
MAJESTIC I am very grateful for this information and for the time and thought you have given to this. Can you tell me what the shape of the lower seal stamp is depicting? It looks like some kind of container but I don't recognize it. I think a gimei signature would likely be a famous name rather than someone unknown or even little-known, but I understand your point, thank you.

I welcome any further thoughts from you or others.
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