In either case, word and image were inextricably bound together in a folding screen format in classical Japanese culture, and this presentation endured through-out the medieval and modern eras in Japan much the same way that gardens alluding to a Buddhist Western Paradise have been designed and built since Heian times. The underlying subject matter, of course, continues to be the fragility of the human condition and its attachments to the present world. Now nearly devoid of their original literary reminder of such traditional concerns, the modern viewer revels in the uncommon lyricism of this field of pampas grasses (suzuki), which in Japan have for cen-turies signaled autumn and its corresponding cycle of human life. Created by an anonymous artist versed in the techniques of yamato-e precisely at the time foreign ink paintings were most influential throughout Japan, these byøbu demonstrate the durability of native painting traditions at the highest aesthetic level.

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Pampas Grasses, c. 1525

pair of six-fold screens, ink, color, and gold on paper, Image: 150.40 x 349.20 cm (59 3/16 x 137 7/16 inches); Overall: 163.60 x 362.40 cm (64 3/8 x 142 5/8 inches); with frame: 166.80 x 365.60 cm (65 5/8 x 143 7/8 inches); Panorama: 163.60 x 60.40 cm (64 3/8 x 23 3/4 inches). John L. Severance Fund 1984.43.2

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