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Flowers of All Seasons

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

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


mid–17th century


Artist Unknown

About this artwork




These screens, with their gold-leaf backgrounds covered with rhythmic arrays of the flowers of spring, summer, and autumn, were the very first ones to enter the Art Institute’s collection in 1926. Compositions such as this are known in Japanese as hyakkazu (multitude of flowers), and dozens remain from the seventeenth century that are impressed with the seal reading “I’nen,” which was used by the followers of Tawaraya Sotatsu (active 1602–c. 1640) in Kyoto and Kanazawa. This new type of decorative composition coincided with an explosion of interest in botany among the shogun and regional warlords that reached all levels of society in the Edo period (1615–1868).

The right screen features thick-stemmed hollyhocks, roses, chrysanthemums, bushclover, pampas grass, field horsetail shoots, dandelions, and diminutive violets. The left screen contains sorghum, amaranthus, delicate blossoming pinks, cockscombs, poppies, thistle, and begonias. Close to the bottom edge are eggplants. The artists who specialized in screens such as this did not limit themselves to the flowers and grasses mentioned in classical court poetry, but were the first to include varieties of vegetables in their compositions.


Currently Off View


Arts of Asia


Flowers of All Seasons


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


Ea: 136.5 × 312 cm (53 3/4 × 122 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Emily Crane Chadbourne

Reference Number


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