late 1700s-early 1800s

Nakamura Hōchū 中村 芳中

(Japanese, d. 1819)

Fan painting mounted as a hanging scroll; ink and color with gold on paper

Image: 39.8 x 53 cm (15 11/16 x 20 7/8 in.); Overall: 126.4 x 61.3 cm (49 3/4 x 24 1/8 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1999.90



Nakamura Hochu represents a late, spirited expression of the Rimpa school of decorative painting in Japanese art history. Established at the beginning of the 17th century, it appropriated traditional Heian era (AD 794-1185) motifs and imagery, transforming them into startling designs and formats in architecture, painting, ceramics, and lacquerware. This composition of limpid blue waves can be seen as detailing in religious paintings of the 12th century, then again as the central elements of large screen paintings in the 17th and 18th centuries. Here Hochu employs it on a utilitarian object--a hand-held fan--that has in modern times been remounted as a hanging scroll.

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