Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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四季山水画 (瀟湘八景)
Landscape of the Four Seasons (Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers)

Artist:
Sōami (Japanese, died 1525)
Period:
Muromachi period (1392–1573)
Date:
early 16th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink on paper
Dimensions:
Each: 68 1/4 × 146 in. (173.4 × 370.8 cm)
Classification:
Screens
Credit Line:
Gift of John D. Rockefeller Jr., 1941
Accession Number:
41.59.1, .2
Not on view
Vast landscapes on screens and sliding doors set a serene and contemplative mood in Muromachi-period mansions and temples. The painting depicts the Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers. Enlarged and unified as a vast landscape, vignettes of daily life are set within the embrace of nature’s cycles, conforming to a longstanding preference in Japanese interior decoration that is rooted in the art and poetry of the Late Heian period (897–1185).

At far right, a traveler crosses a bridge to a village glimpsed amid rising clouds of spring and mist. In the center, waterfalls cascade to the open river, where the bustle of fishermen signals summer. In the left screen, boats moored at a distant shore and a line of migrating geese convey autumnal nostalgia. Snow-covered rooftops at the base of whitened mountains bring the cycle to a close.

Sōami was the last of three generations of connoisseurs who served as artistic advisers to the Ashikaga shoguns in Kyoto. Both screens are signed “Brushed by Kangaku Shinsō,” Sōami’s artist’s name followed by his Buddhist name, over a red intaglio seal.
#8855. Landscape of the Four Seasons (Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers)
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For Audio Guide tours and information, visit metmuseum.org/audioguide.
Signature: Kangaku Shinsō hitsu; also seal
New York. Asia House Gallery. "Byōbu: Japanese Screens from New York Collections," January 14, 1971–March 14, 1971.

Princeton University Art Museum. "Japanese Ink Painting: The Muromachi Period," April 24, 1976–June 13, 1976.

Tokyo. The Museum Interchange Subcommittee of the US-Japan. "Exhibition of Masterpieces, East and West and from American Collections," September 10, 1976–October 17, 1976.

Kyoto National Museum. "Exhibition of Masterpieces, East and West and from American Collections," November 1, 1976–December 5, 1976.

Tokyo. Asahi Shinbun. "Screen Paintings of the Muromachi Period," March 28, 1989–May 7, 1989.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Seasonal Pleasures in Japanese Art (Part One)," October 12, 1995–April 28, 1996.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "No Ordinary Mortals: The Human and Not-So-Human Figure in Japanese Art," 1996.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Resonant Image: Tradition in Japanese Art (Part Two)," April 27, 1998–September 27, 1998.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art in Early Japan," 1999–2000.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sense of Place: Landscape in Japanese Art," May 8, 2002–September 8, 2002.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Great Waves: Chinese Themes in the Arts of Korea and Japan II," March 22, 2003–September 21, 2003.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Tribute to a Dedicated Collector: Mary Griggs Burke," June 30, 2004–November 29, 2004.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sensitivity to the Seasons: Spring and Summer," December 17, 2005–June 4, 2006.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Poetry and Travel in Japanese Art," December 18, 2008–May 31, 2009.

Seoul. National Museum of Korea. "Landscapes: Seeking the Ideal World," July 22, 2014–September 21, 2014.

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