Cherry and Maple Trees

Sakai Hōitsu Japanese

Not on view

This pair of screens, painted in vivid colors on a brilliant gold-leaf background, presents a budding willow and a cherry tree in full bloom alongside two maple trees at the peak of their crimson glory. The compositions are distinctive for their array of related springtime and autumnal plants and flowers, all with poetic significance in haiku of the period. While hanging-scroll paintings by Sakai Hōitsu abound, only a half dozen or so pairs of screens in this six-panel format are known to survive, and these in particular stand out for their originality of composition, strong visual impact, and projection of lyrical elegance.

This work can be dated to late in Hōitsu’s career, when he was joined in his studio by his closest and most talented pupil, Suzuki Kiitsu (1796–1858).

Cherry and Maple Trees, Sakai Hōitsu (Japanese, 1761–1828), Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gold leaf on paper, Japan

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screen .1, overall