Despite the grand scale of a landscape dominated by mountains, lakes, and mist, the eye is drawn to the figures in this pair of folding screens. In the lower right corner of the right screen, an old scholar and his servant make their way toward a small village, where a friend awaits. Leaving the village, they follow a path through rice fields and alongside willows, crossing a bridge leading to the left screen. Although the season has changed, familiar figures appear: a scholar on a path and two others chatting in a thatched hut.
Along with Ike Taiga (1723–1776), Yosa Buson is one of the most celebrated Nanga artists. He was a renowned poet—especially of haiku—and a prolific painter. Essentially self-taught, he studied Chinese painting manuals and works of Chinese painters of the past, and developed his own style based on lyrical abstraction and the application of atmospheric ink and light color washes.
This artwork is meant to be viewed from right to left. Scroll left to view more.
2015.300.157.1, right screen, overall
2015.300.157.2, left screen, overall
2015.300.157.1, panels 1 and 2
2015.300.157.1, panels 3 and 4
2015.300.157.1, panels 5 and 6
2015.300.157.2, panels 1 and 2
2015.300.157.2, panels 3 and 4
2015.300.157.2, panel 5 and 6
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Title:Travels through Mountains and Fields
Artist:Yosa Buson (Japanese, 1716–1783)
Period:Edo period (1615–1868)
Medium:Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink and color on silk
Dimensions:Image (each): 62 1/2 in. × 11 ft. 9 3/4 in. (158.8 × 360 cm) Overall (each): 63 7/8 in. × 11 ft. 11 1/16 in. (162.2 × 363.4 cm)
Credit Line:Mary Griggs Burke Collection, Gift of the Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation, 2015
Accession Number:2015.300.157.1, .2
Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation , New York (until 2015; donated to MMA)
Dallas Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Japanese Art," October 4, 1969–November 30, 1969.
Orlando. Loch Haven Art Center. "Urban Beauties and Rural Charms," January 8, 1980–February 10, 1980.
Tokyo National Museum. "Nihon bijutsu meihin ten: nyūyōku bāku korekushon," May 21, 1985–June 30, 1985.
Nagoya City Art Museum. "Nihon bijutsu meihin ten: nyūyōku bāku korekushon," August 17, 1985–September 23, 1985.
Atami. MOA Museum of Art. "Nihon bijutsu meihin ten: nyūyōku bāku korekushon," September 29, 1985–October 27, 1985.
Hamamatsu City Museum of Art. "Nihon bijutsu meihin ten: nyūyōku bāku korekushon," November 12, 1985–December 1, 1985.
New York. Asia Society. "Art of Japan: Selections from the Burke Collection, pts. I and II," October 2, 1986–February 22, 1987.
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt. "Die Kunst des Alten Japan: Meisterwerke aus der Mary and Jackson Burke Collection," September 16, 1990–November 18, 1990.
Museum of Fine Arts, Gifu. "Enduring Legacy of Japanese Art: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection," July 5, 2005–August 19, 2005.
Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum. "Enduring Legacy of Japanese Art: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection," October 4, 2005–December 11, 2005.
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. "Enduring Legacy of Japanese Art: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection," January 24, 2006–March 5, 2006.
Miho Museum. "Enduring Legacy of Japanese Art: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection," March 15, 2006–June 11, 2006.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Celebrating the Arts of Japan: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection," October 20, 2015–May 14, 2017.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Poetry of Nature: Edo Paintings from the Fishbein-Bender Collection," February 27, 2018–January 21, 2019.
Tsuji Nobuo 辻惟雄, Mary Griggs Burke, Nihon Keizai Shinbunsha 日本経済新聞社, and Gifu-ken Bijutsukan 岐阜県美術館. Nyūyōku Bāku korekushon-ten: Nihon no bi sanzennen no kagayaki ニューヨーク・バーク・コレクション展 : 日本の美三千年の輝き(Enduring legacy of Japanese art: The Mary Griggs Burke collection). Exh. cat. [Tokyo]: Nihon Keizai Shinbunsha, 2005, cat. no. 111.
Murase, Miyeko, Il Kim, Shi-yee Liu, Gratia Williams Nakahashi, Stephanie Wada, Soyoung Lee, and David Sensabaugh. Art Through a Lifetime: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection. Vol. 1, Japanese Paintings, Printed Works, Calligraphy. [New York]: Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation, , p. 257, cat. no. 312.
Carpenter, John T. The Poetry of Nature: Edo Paintings from the Fishbein-Bender Collection. Exh. cat. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018, pp. 92–93, fig. 28.
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