Ogata Korin (Japanese, 1658–1716)
Two-panel screen; ink, color, and gold on gilded paper
57 11/16 x 65 1/8 in. (146.6 x 165.4 cm); folded: 60 x 32 x 2 1/4 in. (152.4 x 81.3 x 5.7 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1926 (26.117)
Many artists and poets of the East and West alike have striven to capture the transitory and fleeting image of swelling waves. Korin's renditionone of Japan's most striking representations of this amorphous, ungraspable formhas a strangely menacing feel, due no doubt to the long, tentacle-like fingers of foam, punctured here and there by openings. Outlined in ink by the ancient Chinese technique of drawing with two brushes held together in one hand, the clawlike waves are peculiarly reminiscent of dragons.
The screen bears a seal reading "Dôsû," the name Korin adopted in 1704. A recent study has revealed that the screen was executed between 1704 and 1709, when Korin was residing in Edo (Tokyo). The immediate inspiration for the screen may have been an image by the famous Muromachi-period artist Sesson Shukei (15041589?), whose extant works include a number of dynamic and mysterious renderings of waves.