Boats upon Waves
Studio of Tawaraya Sōtatsu (Japanese, died ca. 1640)
Edo period (1615–1868)
mid- to late 17th century
Six-panel folding screen; ink, color, and gold on paper
61 1/8 x 141 3/4 in. (155.2 x 360 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Gift of Horace Havemeyer, 1949
This work relates closely to a pair of screens by the celebrated early seventeenth-century Kyoto painter Sōtatsu depicting Matsushima, a scenic locale near Sendai in northern Japan named after its tiny islands dotted with pines. The present screen echoes Sōtatsu’s earlier composition with its gold-filled cloud formations and its rocks in vibrant shades of brown, blue, and green. However, growing from the rocks are maple trees with autumnal leaves, not pines, and newly introduced are two empty boats adrift on gently rolling waves. These details generate a somber, mysterious atmosphere.