This is one of a large number of grass-and-flower paintings bearing the I’nen seal. The genre incorporates a range of styles from relatively realistic to highly idealized; the Freer screen is decidedly lacking in realism. The trend toward idealism seems to have increased with the significant demand for grass-and-flower paintings in the decades after Sōtatsu’s death. Uncertain draftsmanship and a confusing arrangement of seasonal and other motifs suggest a decreasing reliance on direct observation of nature as well as diminished technical abilities. Thus, this screen can be dated to a time when such works began to be created in large numbers.
Summer and Autumn Flowers
Sōtatsu school, I’nen seal
Japan, 17th century
Color over gold on paper
Freer Gallery of Art, Gift of Charles Lang Freer, F1896.82