Set of four sliding-door panels (fusuma); ink and gold on paper
Overall (for four panels): 68 1/2 x 190 3/8 in. (174 x 483.6 cm)
Gift of Gitter-Yelen Foundation, in honor of Maxwell K. Hearn, 2011
Not on view
Images of water with waves and bamboo grass (sasa) are painted on opposite sides of these sliding-door panels. Here and there a pooled pigment effect (tarashikomi), a signature device of Rinpa-school artists, can be discerned. Kamisaka Sekka was trained in traditional Japanese painting styles, but government-sponsored trips to Paris and Glasgow introduced him to the art of the West, particularly Art Nouveau. Upon returning to Japan, he blended Rinpa-school techniques with elements of Western taste.
During the summer Tanabata Festival, people write wishes on paper strips and fasten them to sasa leaves, often setting them afloat on a river. The Tanabata story, derived from ancient Chinese legend, describes two celestial lovers separated by the heavenly river (Milky Way) and allowed to meet only once a year. The waves and sasa on Sekka’s screens may be a reference to this festival and tale.
Gitter-Yelen Foundation , New Orleans, LA (until 2011; donated to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Designing Nature: The Rinpa Aesthetic in Japanese Art," May 26, 2012–January 13, 2013.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collection," June 13, 2017–February 4, 2018.