Flowering Plants and Vegetables of the Four Seasons
Edo period (1615–1868)
early 18th century
Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, light color, and gold leaf on paper
Image (each screen): 64 3/16 x 146 7/16 in. (163 x 372 cm)
Gift of Sue Cassidy Clark, in honor of Dr. Barbara Brennan Ford, 2005
Not on view
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.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Graceful Gestures: Two Decades of Collecting Japanese Art," 2007.
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