Exhibitions/ Art Object

Rough Waves

Ogata Kōrin (Japanese, 1658–1716)
Edo period (1615–1868)
ca. 1704–9
Two-panel folding screen; ink, color, and gold leaf on paper
Image: 57 11/16 x 65 1/8 in. (146.5 x 165.4 cm)
Overall: 59 1/4 x 66 1/2 in. (150.5 x 168.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1926
Accession Number:
Not on view
Many artists and poets of the East and West alike have striven to capture the transitory and fleeting image of swelling waves. Kōrin’s rendition—one of Japan’s most striking representations of this amorphous, ungraspable form—has a strangely menacing feel, due no doubt to the long, tentacle-like fingers of foam, punctured here and there by openings. Outlined in ink using the ancient Chinese technique of drawing with two brushes held together in one hand, the clawlike waves are peculiarly reminiscent of dragons’ talons. The immediate inspiration for the screen may have been images by Sesson Shūkei (ca. 1504–ca. 1589), whose extant works include a number of dynamic and mysterious renderings of waves.

The screen bears a seal reading “Dōsū,” the name Kōrin adopted in 1704. Recent research suggests that the screen was executed between 1704 and 1709, when Kōrin was residing in Edo (now Tokyo).
#7702. Rough Waves
For Audio Guide tours and information, visit metmuseum.org/audioguide.
Signature: Hokkyo Korin; seal: Dosu

Kumagai Kyukyodo , Kyoto (until 1926; sold to G. Kitanaka); [ G. Kitanaka , Kyoto, 1926; sold to MMA]
New York. Japan House Gallery. "Rimpa, Masterworks of the Japanese Decorative School," September 13, 1971–November 14, 1971.

Tokyo National Museum. "Rimpa: Outstanding Works of the Korin School," October 10, 1972–December 3, 1972.

Fukuoka Art Museum. "Nihon no bi : Rimpa: Sōtatsi, Kōrin, Hoitsu kara gendai made," October 7, 1989–November 5, 1989.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Resonant Image: Tradition in Japanese Art (Part Two)," April 27, 1998–September 27, 1998.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art in Early Japan," 1999–2000.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts of Japan," August 19, 2000–February 5, 2001.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sense of Place: Landscape in Japanese Art," May 8, 2002–September 8, 2002.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Great Waves: Chinese Themes in the Arts of Korea and Japan I," March 1, 2003–September 21, 2003.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," July 2, 2005–November 29, 2005.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Flowing Streams: Scenes from Japanese Arts and Life," December 21, 2006–June 3, 2007.

Tokyo National Museum. "Celebrating the 350th Anniversary of Ogata Korin's Birth, Treasures by Rinpa Masters: Inheritance and Innovation," October 7, 2008–November 16, 2008.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Designing Nature: The Rinpa Aesthetic in Japanese Art," May 26, 2012–January 13, 2013.

New York. Japan Society Gallery. "Silver Winds: the Art of Sakai Hoitsu (1761–1828) and His Circle," September 28, 2012–January 6, 2013.

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