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Exhibitions/ Art Object

Autumn Maple Trees

Tawaraya Sōri (active late 18th century)
Edo period (1615–1868)
late 18th century
Six-panel folding screen; ink, color, and gold-leaf on paper
Image: 27 1/16 × 83 1/8 in. (68.7 × 211.2 cm) Overall with mounting: 31 11/16 × 87 13/16 in. (80.5 × 223 cm)
Credit Line:
Lent by Feinberg Collection
Not on view
Capturing a scene of autumn foliage, this small six-panel folding screen painting gives the impression less of natural scenery than of a highly decorative planar design. The trees’ curving forms and the mottled effect in ink created through the Rinpa technique of tarashikomi (“dripping in,” or mottled pigmentation) endow the scene with a feeling of pliancy and gentleness. Toward the right, three trees are painted in lighter ink to suggest that they stand farther back, thereby lending this gold-ground painting a marvelous sense of spatial depth. The duster of still green leaves on the tree at left provides a fresh accent to the withering red foliage and allows the artist to suggest the changing of the seasons.

This bright and colorful picture anticipates large-scale Rinpa paintings of flowers and foliage that would be created by Sōri’s successors in Edo in the early nineteenth century. Sōri, who was active in Edo from the late eighteenth century, might have been among the circle of Rinpa artists who would have inspired Sakai Hōitsu (1761–1828) to devote his energies to reviving the Rinpa style.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Flowering of Edo Period Painting: Japanese Masterworks from the Feinberg Collection," February 1, 2014–September 7, 2014.