Two-panel folding screen; ink and color on gilded paper
Image: 152.7 x 154.9 cm (60 1/8 x 61 in.); Overall: 157.5 x 158.5 cm (62 x 62 3/8 in.)
Gift of the American Foundation for the Maud E. and Warren H. Corning Botanical Collection 1964.386
Hōitsu often painted two-panel folding screens for urban clients residing in smaller spaces. A painting after this one in the Itabashi Museum in Tokyo shows an extended composition across a pair of two-panel screens.
In this screen, Sakai Hōitsu expertly deployed a painting technique called “dripping-in” (tarashikomi). Ink and color dripped on the surface, and allowed to pool there, created the illusionistic effect of lichen-dotted tree bark and twisted chrysanthemum leaves. Paulownia and chrysanthemum are signifiers of late spring and early autumn as well as emblems of the Japanese imperial house. Paulownia also has medicinal properties and associations with fortitude, while chrysanthemum symbolizes good government.
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