Willows and Bridge


Not on view

Paintings that combine willows with a bridge and waterwheel immediately evoke the bridge over the Uji River in southeast Kyoto, a view long celebrated in literary works such as The Tale of Genji. Paintings of the Uji Bridge decorated palaces by the 900s and remained popular for the next thousand years. With their contrast of large, dramatic forms and brilliant metallic shimmer, these screens represent the zenith of the decorative style of the late sixteenth century. Above the golden bridge’s strong diagonal is a copper moon, attached to the screen by small pegs. A large waterwheel turns in the stream and stone-filled baskets protect the embankments. Gently lapping waves of silver pigment have oxidized over time to a dark gray.

Willows and Bridge, Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, copper, gold, and gold leaf on paper, Japan

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