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Willow Bridge and Waterwheel

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

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  • A work made of pair of six-panel screens; ink, color, gold, and silver on paper.


c. 1650


Hasegawa Soya
Japanese, 1590-1667

About this artwork




The gold bridge spanning the twelve panels of this pair is a quintessential folding screen subject, and several versions of this design exist. The location pictured is Uji, an area of great spiritual significance and a link between the ancient cities of Nara and Kyoto. By the Edo period (1615–1868), certain elements were sufficient to evoke the famous site: the curved bridge, willows, moon, waterwheel, trailing mist, and rock-filled baskets are all elements taken from classical poetry.
The artist Hasegawa Soya was the son of Hasegawa Tohaku (1539–1610), an innovator in producing dynamic large-format works. An impressive amount of precious materials went into the fabrication of this pair. Gold and silver were used in leaf form on the bridge and moon, as cut squares and dust in the clouds, and as paint for the lines of the current. Gold paint has also been used over oyster-shell-white pigment (gofun) to create a raised effect in the baskets and the waterwheel. In addition, the application of the gold leaf diagonally to accentuate the curve of the bridge is a rare feature.


Currently Off View


Arts of Asia


Hasegawa Sôya


Willow Bridge and Waterwheel


Japan (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



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


Each: 175 × 376 cm (68 15/16 × 148 1/16 in.)

Credit Line

Kate S. Buckingham and Frederick W. Renshaw endowments

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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