Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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花野菜四季図屏風
Flowering Plants and Vegetables of the Four Seasons

Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
early 18th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, light color, and gold leaf on paper
Dimensions:
Image (each screen): 64 3/16 x 146 7/16 in. (163 x 372 cm)
Classification:
Screens
Credit Line:
Gift of Sue Cassidy Clark, in honor of Dr. Barbara Brennan Ford, 2005
Accession Number:
2005.170.1, .2
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 227
These screens feature a profusion of flowering plants and vegetables painted with “boneless” brushwork (without outlines) in mineral colors and ink on a gold-leaf ground. They were created by an eighteenth-century follower of the Rinpa style established by Tawaraya Sōtatsu (ca. 1570–ca. 1640).

Flowers and flowering grasses of the four seasons, including cotton roses, dandelions, irises, violets, and wild wisteria, are depicted on the right screen; vegetables—such as carrots, corn, eggplants, millet, peas, radishes, and turnips—predominate on the left. Thirty-four flowering plants and thirty-two vegetables have been identified. The broad-leafed vegetation on the left creates a bold visual contrast to the delicate flora on the companion screen. During the eighteenth century, Chinese pharmacology and Western botany drew the attention of Japanese intellectuals not only to classical literary plants but also to domestic flowers and vegetables in their natural environs.
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