An enigmatic and unclassifiable artist who took the name Soga from Soga Jasoku, a fifteenth-century artist. He lived in Kyoto and is known to have abhored Okyo. Although admired for his dynamic brushwork by his contemporaries, he was considered – if not mad – certainly very eccentric. Now widely admired with many copies. Shows the Dragon of the Storm. A mythological creature that dominated Chinese and Japanese art. It was a scaly four legged serpent with dorsal spines, the head having two horns, long feelers, and flame-like streamers at the shoulders and hind quarters. What could be a hackneyed subject – especially in Kishi hands – but here transformed by the sheer brilliance of the brushwork. Sumi on paper, 47.5 x 14.5 in; 120.5 x 37 cms, c 1770s. Old mount with the painting in extremely good condition. Box of considerable age with inscription on lid: Soga Shohaku: Ranzan ka un ryu, “Soga Shohaku: Ranzan Dragon in the Cloud.” Underside of lid inscription states that it is from a collector’s rare collection and there are various undecipherable Japanese ( collectors’ ? ) seals. Signed Kiyu no zu with seals Ranzan and Soga shi. A masterpiece.