Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Two of Japan’s most famous peaks—Mount Fuji to the west of Edo and Mount Tsukuba to the northeast—are depicted on the recto and verso of this fan by School of Kōrin painter Suzuki Kiitsu. In the early modern era, Mount Fuji was conventionally depicted snowy white, its summit divided into three peaks. Mount Tsukuba was painted blue with two peaks. Kiitsu wittily takes advantage of the transparency of the fan paper by allowing the silhouette of each mountain to define the form of the other: when held to the light, the snow line of Fuji reveals itself also to be the profile of Tsukuba, painted on the reverse. Similarly, Fuji appears to loom behind Tsukuba, suggesting that the fictive viewing position is Edo itself, safeguarded between the two sacred mountains.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
TL42147.34
People
Suzuki Kiitsu, Japanese (Omi Province 1796 - 1858)
Title
Mount Fuji and Mount Tsukuba
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting, fan
Date
c. 1835-43
Places
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Period
Edo period, 1615-1868
Culture
Japanese
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/340480
Location
Level 3, Room 3500, Special Exhibitions Gallery
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Folding fan; ink, color, silver and gold on paper
Dimensions
opened max.: 33.5 x 51 x 1.5 cm (13 3/16 x 20 1/16 x 9/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: side "Mount Tsukuba," in black ink: Taihoku Kanasugi Isandō
  • seal: round: Teihakushi
  • seal: urn-shaped: Genchō
  • inscription: side "Mount Fuji," in gold ink: Kaikaiken Kiitsu hitsu
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg
Object Number
TL42147.34
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
Descriptions
Commentary
Double-sided fan with designs of Mount Fuji and Mount Tsukuba.
Publication History

Matthew McKelway, Kobayashi Tadashi, and Yasumura Toshinobu, Silver Wind: The Arts of Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1828), exh. cat., Japan Society (New York, 2012), pp. 160-161, cat. 49

Exhibition History

Silver Wind: the Arts of Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1828), Japan Society, New York, 09/29/2012 - 01/06/2013

32Q: 2600 East Asian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 12/03/2015 - 06/07/2016

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

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

Related Articles

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