Oct 15, 2010
Oct 15, 2010
Oct 15, 2010
Oct 15, 2010

Scenes from Essays in Idleness

Scenes from Essays in Idleness


late 1700s–early 1800s

Part of a set. See all set records

Matsumura Goshun 松村呉春

(Japanese, 1752-1811)

One of a pair of six-panel folding screens; ink and color on paper

Image: 146.5 x 330.7 cm (57 11/16 x 130 3/16 in.); Overall: 170.2 x 375.8 cm (67 x 147 15/16 in.)

Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1971.43.2



Stories in Japanese Art (Japanese art rotation)


Matsumura Goshun inscribed passages from Buddhist monk Yoshida Kenkō’s (1283–1350) well-known collection of anecdotes, Essays in Idleness, across the top of the panels of this screen and its pair. Goshun illustrated the narratives with his vision of the figures who feature in them. The texts cascade down from right to left, forming unique compositional relationships with the images below. The episodes offer a veritable portrait of human idiosyncrasy, from one man’s deep faith in radishes to another’s inability to avoid nicknames.


Essays in Idleness: Episode 230
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