Art/ Collection/ Art Object

尾形光琳筆 棹舟図
Boatman Polling a Raft

Ogata Kōrin (Japanese, 1658–1716)
Edo period (1615–1868)
early 18th century
Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper
Image: 10 1/8 x 10 3/4 in. (25.7 x 27.3 cm) Overall with mounting: 42 3/4 x 15 7/8 in. (108.6 x 40.3 cm) Overall with knobs: 42 3/4 x 17 1/4 in. (108.6 x 43.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Collection of Sue Cassidy Clark
Accession Number:
Not on view
The motif of the boatman in a courtier’s cap and loose-fitting robes poling a raft or small boat amid waves was among the repertory of Rinpa pictorial motifs. The source of the imagery is not clear, but one theory is that it derives from earlier illustrations of the “Sumida River” (Sumidagawa) episode of The Ise Stories (Ise monogatari), set on waterway that separates Musashi and Shimōsa provinces (present-day Tokyo). According to the tale, the courtier-protagonist of the tale and his companions are being ferried in a small boat along the Sumida River, and when he is told that the birds he sees are “Capital Birds” (miyakodori), he is reminded of his lover he left behind in the capital of Kyoto. The painting is sealed in the lower right corner with the artist’s square “Hōshuku” seal.
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