Masuyama Sessai

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A memorial stone dedicated to the memory of the insects Sessai kept to paint. Originally erected at Kanzen-in, a branch temple which served as the Masuyama clan's family temple, the stone is now located in front of the main hall of Kan'ei-ji.
  • Born: 1754
  • Died: 1819
  • Other Names: 増山正賢 (Masuyama Masakata), 玉園 (Gyokuen), 蕉亭 (Shôtei), 石顛道人 (Sekiten dôjin), 巣丘隠人 (Suoka injin)
  • Japanese: 増山雪斎 (Masuyama Sessai)

Masuyama Masakata, lord of Ise Nagashima han, was also known as a birds-and-flowers painter of the Nanpin school and honsôgakusha (scholar of flora and fauna); he went by a number of art-names, of which Sessai is the one by which he is most known.

Sessai was actively engaged in literati circles, counting such figures as Ôta Nanpo and Kimura Kenkadô among his mentors. Enamored of Qing Dynasty Chinese styles of painting, he studied after the style of Shen Nanpin and produced many birds-and-flowers paintings, using the painting-from-life technique known as shasei.

He died in 1819, at the age of 66.