Bamboo Grass and Waves
- Kamisaka Sekka (Japanese, 1866–1942)
- Shōwa period (1926–89)
- ca. 1920s–30s
- 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)
- Credit Line:
- Gift of Gitter-Yelen Foundation, in honor of Maxwell K. Hearn, 2011
- Accession Number:
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.