Autumn Grasses in Moonlight

Artist: Shibata Zeshin (Japanese, 1807–1891)

Period: Meiji period (1868–1912)

Date: second half of the 19th century

Culture: Japan

Medium: Two-panel folding screen; ink, lacquer, silver, and silver leaf on paper

Dimensions: Image (each panel): 18 in. × 33 1/4 in. (45.7 × 84.5 cm)
Each panel, with frame: 26 1/8 × 34 3/8 in. (66.4 × 87.3 cm)
Overall with frame (both panels): 26 1/8 in. × 69 in. (66.4 × 175.3 cm)

Classification: Screens

Credit Line: The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975

Accession Number: 1975.268.137


In Japan, gazing at the moon and listening to the sounds of insects have long been tranquil ways to spend an autumn evening. Seen from a low vantage point, the full moon illuminates the unseen world in a tangle of autumn grasses, where various types of crickets are highlighted with shiny lacquer pigment. The silver background further enriches the dreamlike atmosphere. This small screen is of a type used at tea gatherings.