overall with mounting Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

The profusion of repetitive lines in this large-scale work by the reclusive Kyoto-based painter and theorist Nakabayashi Chikutō creates the illusion that the entire landscape is softly swaying. Although there are few signs of human activity, the scene is not entirely uninhabited: a contemplative figure is visible in one of the structures on the lakeshore in the left panel, and a man wearing a long-sleeved robe and holding a staff appears on the bridge at the bottom of the right panel. The latter is depicted walking, yet he is rendered with such economy that it almost appears as if he is the only element of the picture that is still. The elegant visual dissonance between the scholar and his surroundings marks this figure as a possible proxy guide to the uncanny, dreamlike landscape.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Nakabayashi Chikutō, Japanese (Nagoya 1776 - 1853)
Chinese Landscape
Work Type
painting, screen
c. 1815
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Edo period, 1615-1868
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Two-panel folding screen; ink and light color on paper
painting proper: H. 154 × W. 169.4 cm (60 5/8 × 66 11/16 in.)
overall, flexed open at 160-degree angle: H. 170.8 × W. 175.3 cm (67 1/4 × 69 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • seal: top: Seisho no in
  • inscription: Chikuto sanjin sha
  • seal: bottom: Aza Hakumei
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Exhibition History

Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/14/2020 - 07/18/2021

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

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