Artist: Watanabe Shiko 渡辺始興 (1683-1755)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 18th century
Color and gold on paper
H x W (overall): 192.1 x 206.8 cm (75 5/8 x 81 7/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Screen (two-panel)

chrysanthemum, Edo period (1615 - 1868), flower, hollyhock, Japan, lily, morning glory, poppy, wisteria

To 1903
Yamanaka & Company, to 1903 [1]

From 1903 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Yamanaka & Company in 1903 [2]

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

[1] Undated folder sheet note. Also see Original Kakemono Reserved List, pg. 22, 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


The brilliant colors and simplified composition of this screen recall the style of the Rimpa school, which flourished from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries. 

The artist shows his concern for naturalistic placement of the flowers as though they were growing in a field.  Portrayed in realistic detail are white wisteria, pinks, wild chrysanthemums, red and white poppies, hollyhocks, lilies, white bush clover, morning glories, reeds, Chinese bellflowers, and melon flowers.  Associated with the seasons of spring and autumn, many of these flowers were also themes of Japanese poetry.

Watanabe Shiko was born to a samurai family and is said to have studied with both a Kano-school painter and later with the Rimpa-school artist Ogata Korin (1658-1716), although there is no specific record of their association.  Both aspects of Shiko's training are apparent in this screen, in which he sensitively combines the Kano-school concern for realistic detail and spatial illusion with the bold approach to design characteristic of the Rimpa-school painting.

Published References
  • Zaigai Nihon no Shiho [Japanese Art: Selections from Western Collections]. 10 vols., Tokyo, 1979 - 1980. vol. 5: pl. 86.
  • Rinpa kaiga zenshu [Paintings of Rinpa]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1977-1980. vol. 2 (1978): p. 31.
  • Zaigai hiho [(Japanese Paintings in Western Collections]. 3 vols., Tokyo. vol. 1, pt. I, pl. 69.
  • Frank Feltens. Ogata Korin: Art in Early Modern Japan. New Haven, CT, October 12, 2021. p. 184, fig. 128.
  • Oliver Impey. Watanabe Shiko: A Reassessment. vol. 17, no. 4 London, Winter 1971. p. 331.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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