painting proper Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Like Tani Bunchō (1763–1841), whose works are displayed nearby, Gentai borrowed from the idioms of professional Chinese painting that were otherwise anathema to the amateur literati tradition. As a result, he developed a style previously unwitnessed in Edo painting. Peach Blossom Spring derives from a prose preface by Chinese poet Tao Yuanming (365–427), in which a fisherman chances upon a paradisal realm after passing through a cave hidden by blossoming peach trees. He returns home to tell others of his discovery, only to fail to find it again. Gentai’s rendering follows the ancient tradition of using azurite blue and malachite green to endow the mountains that shelter the utopian village with sacred meaning.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
TL42147.46
People
Watanabe Gentai, Japanese (1749 - 1822)
Title
Peach Blossom Spring
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
hanging scroll, painting
Date
1792
Places
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Period
Edo period, 1615-1868
Culture
Japanese
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/340393
Location
Level 3, Room 3610, University Teaching Gallery
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
Dimensions
painting proper: H. 155.2 × W. 79 cm (61 1/8 × 31 1/8 in.)
overall mounting, including roller ends and suspension cord: H. 224.8 × W. 107 cm (88 1/2 × 42 1/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • seal: top: Bei Ei
  • seal: bottom: Azana Euki
  • inscription: Wata[nabe] Ei Sei
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg
Object Number
TL42147.46
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Publication History

The Flowering of Edo Period Painting: Japanese Masterworks from the Feinberg Collection, exh. cat., Yomiuri Shinbunsha (Tokyo, 2013), p. 96, cat. 37

Rachel Saunders and Yukio Lippit, Painting Edo: Selections from the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art, exh. cat. (Cambridge, MA, 2020), p. 82, fig. 72

Exhibition History

The Flowering of Edo Period Painting: Japanese Masterworks from the Feinberg Collection, Tokyo Metropolitan Edo-Tokyo Museum, 05/21/2013 - 07/15/2013; Miho Museum, 07/20/2013 - 08/18/2013; Tottori Prefectural Museum, 10/05/2013 - 11/10/2013

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

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

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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