The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of March 17, 2018

God of Thunder (Raijin), mid-1600s

six-panel folding screen, ink, color and gold on paper, Image: 150.4 x 343 cm (59 3/16 x 135 in.); Overall: 162.4 x 355.8 cm (63 7/8 x 140 1/16 in.); Panel: 162.4 x 59.2 cm (63 7/8 x 23 1/4 in.); with frame: 165.6 x 358.6 cm (65 3/16 x 141 1/8 in.). Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 2004.86

Such depictions of the God of Thunder originated in Buddhist art. Here, the image was painted on
paper covered with gold dust, a technique often found in paintings by Tawaraya Sotatsu or of the Sotatsu school. This gold technique and the "Inen" seal here--identical to the seal on another
work of the Sotatsu workshop, now in the Okura Cultural Foundation--suggest that the anonymous
painter of this screen was probably associated with the Sotatsu workshop. The artist used a prototype borrowed from earlier Japanese narrative painting--rather than reproducing mechanically Sotatsu’s image--and created a bold, innovative image that served the world of play and leisure in early Edo Japan.

The theme of "God of Thunder" was often paired with "God of Wind" and has been frequently reinterpreted by generations of Rimpa artists. Unfortunately, the screen God of Wind which would
have accompanied this God of Thunder cannot be located.

Cleveland Museum of Art (organizer). Tokyo National Museum (1/15/2014 - 2/23/2014) and Kyushu National Museum (7/8/2014 - 8/31/2014): "Admired from Afar: Masterworks of Japanese Painting from the Cleveland Museum of Art", cat. no. 15, p. 58-61.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Library materials about Sotatsu (99)

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