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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
Watanabe Gentai 渡辺玄対, Japanese (1749 - 1822)
Peach Blossom Spring
Work Type
hanging scroll, painting
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Edo period, 1615-1868
Persistent Link


Level 2, Room 2600, East Asian Art, East Asian Painting and Decorative Arts
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Physical Descriptions

Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
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
  • signature: 寛政壬子秋初 邉瑛製 [Painted by Be Ei, early autumn of the stem year Jinshi (mizunoe-ne; 1792) of the Kansei era]
  • seal: upper; square, intaglio: 邉瑛 [Be Ei]
  • seal: lower; square, intaglio: 字廷輝 [Azana Teiki]

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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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
  • Rachel Saunders, ed., Catalogue of the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art, brochure, Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, 2021), pp. 57-58, cat. 45

Exhibition History

Subjects and Contexts

  • Google Art Project

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Verification Level

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