Flowering Cherry and Autumn Maples with Poem Slips

A work made of pair of six-panel screens; ink, color, gold and silver on silk.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of pair of six-panel screens; ink, color, gold and silver on silk.
  • Papers with Japanese text hang from a tree bearing red and gold leaves

Date:

1654/81

Artist:

Tosa Mitsuoki
Japanese, 1617-1691

About this artwork

Japanese aristocrats engaged in the elegant custom of recollecting classical poetry while viewing spring and autumn foliage. In these delicate screens, premier court painter Tosa Mitsuoki meditated on the inevitable passage of beauty by depicting the melancholy hours after the departure of reveling courtiers. A cherry tree bursts into bloom on the right screen, while its mate displays the brilliant red and gold foliage of maples in autumn. Slips of poetry, called tanzaku, waft from the blossoming limbs, the remaining evidence of a human presence. Courtiers (whose names are recorded in a seventeenth-century document) assisted Mitsuoki by inscribing the narrow strips with quotations of appropriate seasonal poetry from twelfth- and thirteenth-century anthologies. The screens were either commissioned by or given to Tofukumon’in (1607–1678), a daughter of the Tokugawa shogun who married the emperor Gomizunoo (1596–1680). In an era otherwise marked by increasing control of the feudal shogunate over imperial prerogatives, this royal couple encouraged a renaissance of courtly taste that nostalgically evoked the past glories of early-medieval aristocratic life.

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Asian Art

Artist

Tosa Mitsuoki

Title

Flowering Cherry and Autumn Maples with Poem Slips

Origin

Japan

Date

1649–1686

Medium

Pair of six-panel screens; ink, color, gold and silver on silk

Dimensions

Each 144 x 286 cm

Credit Line

Kate S. Buckingham Endowment

Reference Number

1977.156-157

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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