Exhibitions/ Art Object

Flowers and Trees of the Twelve Months

Nakamura Hōchū (Japanese, died 1819)
Edo period (1615–1868)
ca. 1804–8
Twelve fans on a pair of two-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gold on paper
Overall: 65 1/2 x 72 3/16 in. (166.4 x 183.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Gitter-Yelen Collection
Not on view
On this pair of screens, fan-shaped compositions, each painted with a motif emblematic of one of the twelve months of the year, are scattered across a ground of two-toned golden mists. Gold accents and mottled ink (tarashikomi) bring to life stylized wisteria vines curling in the late spring sun; maple leaves falling into the swift current of a river in autumn; and touches of white shell pigment that cloak a wintry scene of black pine. The artist reached a high degree of abstraction in his depiction of summer corn, which appears at the center of the right-hand panel of the left-hand screen. He signed each of the paintings, and sealed six with a round seal, six with a square one. Like these screens, many of his paintings demonstrate the influence of Ogata Kōrin. However, the Osaka-based Hōchū also moved in Confucian literary circles, and took interest in Chinese-style literati painting (Nanga).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Designing Nature: The Rinpa Aesthetic in Japanese Art," May 26, 2012–January 13, 2013.