Moon and Autumn Grasses

Studio of Tawaraya Sōtatsu Japanese

Not on view

A large half-moon, once silver but now darkly oxidized, shines over a field of delicate autumn grasses. Tiny grains of gold are scattered throughout, and are especially dense around the moon. Since the Heian period (794–1185), the moon over an autumn field has been a favorite subject in Japan, with its stirring evocation of serenity, clarity, and nostalgia. Rinpa artists and members of the more traditional schools, such as Kano and Tosa, favored this subject during the first half of the seventeenth century. Here, the moon floating over the field creates a simple pattern.

The signature in the lower right corner reads “Sōtatsu Hokkyō” (Sōtatsu holding the title of Bridge of the Law), and the seal reads “Taiseiken.”

Moon and Autumn Grasses, Studio of Tawaraya Sōtatsu (Japanese, ca. 1570–ca. 1640), Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, silver, and gold flecks on paper, Japan

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