left screen Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

The four accomplishments long celebrated in Chinese scholarly circles — playing the zither, mastering chess, practicing calligraphy, and painting — were established as a painting subject in Japan by the 15th century. In this vibrant pair of screens, fashionably dressed men and women play Chinese chess to the accompaniment of the zither in springtime (right) and create ink paintings and compose poetry in autumn (left). Yet those pictured in the lakeside pavilion are not Chinese aristocrats but sophisticated courtesans entertaining patrons. The screens offer an up-to-the-moment Edo parody of the venerable Chinese theme.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
TL41555.1
Title
The Four Accomplishments
Other Titles
Transliterated Title: Kinki shoga
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting, screen
Date
early 18th century
Places
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Period
Edo period, 1615-1868
Culture
Japanese
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/340328
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gold on paper
Dimensions
each screen painting proper: H. 145.5 × W. 348 cm (57 5/16 × 137 in.)
mounting: H. 162.6 × W. 365.4 cm (64 × 143 7/8 in.)
one screen opened at 160-degree angle: W. 345.4 cm (136 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg
Object Number
TL41555.1
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Publication History

Rachel Saunders and Yukio Lippit, Painting Edo: Selections from the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art, exh. cat. (Cambridge, MA, 2020), p. 130, fig. 23

Exhibition History

Geisha: Beyond the Painted Smile, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, 02/14/2004 - 05/09/2004

32Q: 2600 East Asian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 06/09/2016 - 12/01/2016; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 12/07/2018 - 06/04/2019

Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/14/2020 - 05/05/2020

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This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be 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