Sōtatsu: Making Waves

Peonies and Lilies

Peonies and LiliesIn this work, lilies and peonies are interspersed with small, white, five-petal flowers. The plant to the left of the empty space below appears to be bracken. The flowers are painted delicately with light ink outlines, and red and white pigment has been added to the petals. The leaves, on the other hand, are rendered without outline in the “boneless” manner (mokkotsubyō), using the “dripped in” (tarashikomi) technique with watery ink, to which small amounts of green pigment have been added. The round red relief seal I’nen is pressed in the lower-right corner. The substantial use of ink in this botanical work recalls the style developed by Kitagawa Sōsetsu (active mid-seventeenth century), head of the Tawaraya studio in the generation following Sōtatsu’s death. This painting represents one of the directions in which the I’nen style developed.

Peonies and Lilies
Sōtatsu school, I’nen seal.
Japan, late 17th century
Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)
Ink and color on paper
Freer Gallery of Art, Gift of Charles Lang Freer, F1898.56

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