Artist: Master of I-nen Seal (1600-1630)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, mid 17th century
Ink, color and gold on paper
H x W: 154 x 357.8 cm (60 5/8 x 140 7/8 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Screen (six-panel)

Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, tree
Provenance research underway.

At least eight varieties of trees have been identified in the screens F1962.30-31, reflecting a growing interest at that time among educated Japanese in natural history classification. Yet even with careful attention to botanical accuracy, the painter offers no suggestion of spatial relationship between the trees. Indeed, the real subject of the painting is jarring contrast: realism in form but not space, dramatic asymmetry, and bold color contrast.
The circular vermilion seals, reading "I'nen" and seen on the extreme left and right panels of this screen set, were used by the Kyoto painter Tawaraya Sotatsu (active circa 1600-1640) and by several generations of his followers. Sotatsu's follower, Sosetsu (active 1630-50) is a strong candidate as the user of these "I'nen" seals. He migrated from Kyoto to serve Lord Maeda, head of the family who ruled Kaga Province, north of Kyoto; these screens were likely commissioned for the Maeda family.

Published References
  • Zaigai Nihon no Shiho [Japanese Art: Selections from Western Collections]. 10 vols., Tokyo, 1979 - 1980. vol. 5: pl. 44.
  • Rinpa kaiga zenshu [Paintings of Rinpa]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1977-1980. vol. 2: pls. 125, 151-2.
  • Keiko Kawamoto. Nihon byobue shusei. 18 vols., Tokyo, 1977-1982. vol. 6: p. 158, pl. 99.
  • Nihon bijutsu kaiga zenshu. 25 vols., Tokyo, 1977-1980. vol. 14: pl. 52.
  • Mayuyama Junkichi. Japanese Art in the West. Tokyo. pls. 234 a, b.
  • Bijutsu to kusabana. Tokyo. pl. 65-1.
  • Mary Ellen Hayward. The Influence of the Classical Oriental Tradition. vol. 14, no. 2 Chicago, Summer 1979. fig. 11.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 41, vol. 2: p. 165.
  • Christine M. Guth. Varied Trees: An I'nen Seal Screen in the Freer Gallery of Art. no. 39 New York and Honolulu, HI. p. 49.
  • Castile Rand. The Splendor of Rimpa., January/February 1981. p. 64.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 120.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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