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Boats upon Waves

Studio of Tawaraya Sōtatsu (Japanese, died ca. 1640)

Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
first half of the 17th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Six-panel folding screen; ink, color, and gold on paper
Dimensions:
61 1/8 x 141 3/4 in. (155.2 x 360 cm)
Classification:
Screens
Credit Line:
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Gift of Horace Havemeyer, 1949
Accession Number:
49.35.3
  • Description

    This screen painting relates closely to a pair of screens Sōtatsu painted of Matsushima, a site near Sendai in northern Japan famous for its scenic beauty and named after its tiny islands dotted with pines. The screen echoes Sōtatsu’s 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 amid the gently rolling waves. These details generate a somber, mysterious atmosphere.

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