Mimosa tree, poppies and other summer flowers

Artist: Tawaraya Sōsetsu 俵屋宗雪 (active mid-17th century)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1630-1670
Ink, color and gold on paper
H x W: 167.4 x 353.4 cm (65 7/8 x 139 1/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Screen (four-panel)

Edo period (1615 - 1868), flower, Japan, tree

To 1902
Yamanaka & Company, to 1902 [1]

From 1902 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Yamanaka & Company in 1902 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] Undated folder sheet note. See Original Screen List, L. 57, pg. 14, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. The majority of Charles Lang Freer’s purchases from Yamanaka & Company were made at its New York branch. Yamanaka & Company maintained branch offices, at various times, in Boston, Chicago, London, Peking, Shanghai, Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto. During the summer, the company also maintained seasonal locations in Newport, Bar Harbor, and Atlantic City.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Yamanaka and Co. (C.L. Freer source) 1917-1965


Against a gold-leafed background, a lush garden grows beneath the fronds of a mimosa tree. The artist has expertly applied thin washes of ink and pigment, allowing the color to pool, suggesting the variations in natural hues of foliage and flowers. This folding screen was constructed from four individual sliding panels that would have been set in rails between two rooms. The artist is identified only by a circular seal, I'nen, which identifies the painter as a member of the atelier of Sotatsu (active circa 1600-1640). Sotatsu was an innovative artist whose distinctive style of painting was carried on intermittently by artists of the Rimpa School, named after Ogata Korin (1658-1716) and characterized by innovative ideas about design and materials. More than one artist used the I'nen seal, but among Sotatsu's followers, Sosetsu's reputation was the most prominent. Because of its high artistic and technical quality, this screen has traditionally been associated with his name.

Published References
  • Helen Nebeker Tomlinson. West Meets East: Charles L. Freer Trailblazing Asian Art Collector. Herndon, Virginia. Insert p. 12.
  • Keiko Kawamoto. Nihon byobue shusei. 18 vols., Tokyo, 1977-1982. vol. 1: pp. 155, 176-177, pls. 49, 43.
  • Zaigai hiho [(Japanese Paintings in Western Collections]. 3 vols., Tokyo. vol. 1, pt. I, pl. 54.
  • Zaigai Nihon no Shiho [Japanese Art: Selections from Western Collections]. 10 vols., Tokyo, 1979 - 1980. vol. 5: pl. 46.
  • Gaston Migeon. Chefs-d'œuvre d'art japonais. Paris. pl. 13, no. 71.
  • Toledo Museum of Art. Catalogue of the Inaugural Exhibition. Exh. cat. New York, January 17 - February 12, 1912. opp. p. 144.
  • Ernest Francisco Fenollosa. Epochs of Chinese and Japanese Art: An Outline History of East Asiatic Design. 2 vols., London and New York. vol. 2: opp. p. 138.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 43, vol. 2: p. 166.
  • Matsushita Takaaki. Some Paintings by Sotatsu and Artists of His School. no. 48 Tokyo, March 1955. p. 5.
  • Frank Feltens. Ogata Korin: Art in Early Modern Japan. New Haven, CT, October 12, 2021. p. 111, fig. 67.
  • Sherman Lee. Sosetsu and Flowers. Cleveland, November 1970. pp. 262-271.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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