Spring and Autumn Flowers, Fruits, and Grasses
Edo period (1615–1868)
Pair of six-fold screens; mineral pigments on gold leaf
a: 61 3/8 x 142 5/8 in. (155.9 x 362.3 cm) b: 61 3/8 x 142 7/8 in. (155.9 x 362.9 cm)
AP 1983.02 a,b
Currently On View
The Rinpa school represents the fullest expression of the highly decorative approach to nature painting in Japan. This pair of six-fold screens depicts seasonal plants and flowers rendered in typically bright colors on a brilliant gold background. The wisteria, hydrangea, morning glories, and hollyhocks on the right represent spring and the transition to summer, while the millet, eggplant, bush clover, chrysanthemums, and grapes on the left suggest late summer and autumn. The rich, glowing mineral colors and the subtleties of a technique called tarashikomi, which mixes ink with pigments to produce a puddled effect, heighten the elegant decorativeness that gives these screens their distinctive character. Rinpa is an artistic tradition that was founded in the Momoyama period (1573–1615) by the calligrapher Hon’ami Koetsu and the designer-painter Tawaraya Sotatsu, and was perpetuated in the Edo period by Ogata Korin, his brother Kenzan, and various followers. Rinpa was characterized by vivid colors and bold, decorative patterning that derived from a tradition of pictures and themes drawn from classical literature and poetry. Other popular Rinpa subjects included birds and flowers of the four seasons. Rinpa clients were drawn from both the court and the wealthy merchant classes of Kyoto and Edo (Tokyo).