Flowers and Birds of the Four Seasons

Ikeda Koson Japanese

Not on view

The right-hand scroll depicts flowers of the spring and summer seasons; the left, flowers and foliage of autumn and winter. Both works are executed in subtle yet rich tones and soft washes of color; leaves, branches, and flowers are rendered in the “boneless” manner—devoid of outline—that was typical of established Rinpa style. In numerous areas pigments are pooled or puddled together to create a mottled effect, a technique known as tarashikomi.

Among the more talented students of Sakai Hōitsu, Suzuki Kiitsu (1796–1858) is perhaps the most famous, but his younger contemporary Ikeda Koson was also an artist of great ability and dedication to the ideals of the Rinpa tradition. Koson was open to influences from other styles of painting, however; this pair of hanging scrolls owes much of its poetic appeal and its almost sensuous yet subdued colors to Koson’s Rinpa training.

Flowers and Birds of the Four Seasons, Ikeda Koson (Japanese, 1803–1868), Pair of hanging scrolls; ink, color, and gold on silk, Japan

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scroll a (right), scroll b (left)