Gusukuma Seiho (1614-1644): Oldest Deaf-mute painter in Ryukyu

"The Picture of Hakutaku" (『白澤之図』) by Jiryo (Seiho)
Gusukuma Seiho (城間清豊:1614-1644) was the oldest painter in Ryukyu (present Okinawa Prefecture), and his pen name was Jiryo (自了).

Seiho was Deaf-mute reportedly when he was born to the Shuri family's with samurai antecedents as the eldest son.

With his curiosity and aspiration which were stronger than any others, he studied pictures by himself through copying the outstanding pictures work.

Seiho won popularity as an excellent painter in his teens. King Shoho (尚豊) who heard about him, hired him as a professional painter for the Imperial Court with a pen name Jiryo that King gave him.

It is said that Jiryo's works were so excellent even if compared with the pictures of not only Ryukyu but ancient Japan or China.

However, Jiryo passed away at the age of 30, leaving many masterpieces as a painter representing Ryukyu.

One of masterpieces called "The Picture of Hakutaku" (『白澤之図』) (photo) is the only work of Jiryo that remains today, meanwhile the rest of his masterpieces were mostly disappeared at the time of Battle of Okinawa in 1945. Hakutaku is an imaginary animal which appears in a virtuous king's reign.

Japanese sources:

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