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
Provenance research underway.

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.
  • Sherman Lee. Sosetsu and Flowers. Cleveland, November 1970. pp. 262-271.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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