Sōtatsu: Making Waves

Waves at Matsushima and Mount Fuji

Until recently, these screens were known only from the 1826 edition of the book One Hundred Pictures by Kōrin (Kōrin hyakuzu), on view in the next section. This exhibition provides the first occasion to study these unusual works and connect them to Sōtatsu’s grand theme. The Kōrin seal and signature are at odds with the painting techniques, which suggest another hand. The Waves half demonstrates overly meticulous brushwork while the Mount Fuji half seems oversimplified. (Compare it to the screen from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, which seems to have been produced much earlier.) Some modern scholarship suggests that side-by-side placement of the two images—mountain and roiling waters—emerged from  drama texts connecting the Miho area (from where Mount Fuji can be viewed) to legendary “floating islands” related to the mythical Mount Penglai, the isle of immortality.

Waves at Matsushima and Mount Fuji
Attributed to Ogata Kōrin (1658–1716)
Japan, 19th century
Pair of six-panel folding screens
Ink, colors, and gold on paper
Private collection

Additional Views

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