Identification and Creation
Object Number
1964.160
People
Kitagawa Sōsetsu 喜多川相説, Japanese (Kanazawa? active c. latter half 17th century–early 18th century)
Title
Hibiscus Flowers and Wild Pinks
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting, hanging scroll
Date
Early Edo period, mid 17th century
Places
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Period
Edo period, 1615-1868
Culture
Japanese
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/202537
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper
Dimensions
painting proper: H. 104.5 x W. 40.3 cm (41 1/8 x 15 7/8 in.)
mounting, including cord and roller ends: H. 188 x W. 55.2 cm (74 x 21 3/4 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Anonymous Fund
Accession Year
1964
Object Number
1964.160
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
This painting depicts two seasonal flowers in an abstract and yet naturalistic composition; upright floral silhouettes rise gracefully from shadowy or imperceptible roots in a strikingly decorative design devoid of any visible ground plane. Individual plant forms are defined using a technique known as tarashikomi, in which black ink and/or mineral pigments have been splashed onto areas of still-moist ink wash, resulting in evocative pools of saturation. The evolution of such seemingly effortless and yet technically difficult decorative imagery also found expression in many other media during the Edo period (1615-1868), so that divisions between the various arts--such as painting, lacquerware, and metalwork--began to blur. Tarashikomi is one of the hallmarks of so-called Rimpa-style paintings--works done in emulation of Tawaraya Sōtatsu (died c. 1643), who is credited with having consciously evoked and updated the rich, allusive imagery of Japan's Heian-period (794-1185) past. The artist to whom this painting is attributed, Kitagawa Sōsetsu, appears to have been an accomplished and faithful mid-seventeenth-century follower in the direct line of Sōtatsu; however, many questions remain regarding Sōsetsu's identity and oeuvre. This work is likely one of a set of paintings depicting either the Flowers of the Twelve Months or the Flowers of the Four Seasons.
Exhibition History

Plum, Orchid, Chrysanthemum, and Bamboo: Botanical Motifs and Symbols in East Asian Painting, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 07/06/2002 - 01/05/2003

Cultivating Virtue: Botanical Motifs and Symbols in East Asian Art, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 07/08/2006 - 04/08/2007

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu