Hollyhocks and Prince’s-Feather Flowers

Sakai Ōho Japanese

Not on view

Many paintings by Sakai Ōho, including this one, are based on or directly inspired by the work of Sakai Hōitsu, his adoptive father and teacher. Hōitsu no doubt had great aspirations for Ōho, but he died in his early thirties and left a comparatively small body of work. Hollyhocks (tachiaoi)—with their stately appearance, tall stems, and symmetrical arrays of leaves and blossoms—were a common subject of Rinpa artists from the seventeenth century onward, but prince’s-feather flowers (katade) rarely received such attention. The addition of a little butterfly, flat and decorative in its effect, is a reminder that the artist was capturing a poetic moment, a haiku-like snapshot of an imaginary garden.

This work was probably created as the right-hand scroll flanking the god of good fortune, Jurōjin, in a triptych.

Hollyhocks and Prince’s-Feather Flowers, Sakai Ōho (Japanese, 1808–1841), Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk, Japan

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