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

This vista offers a partial view of an expansive waterscape, one that continues far into the distance where the screens meet. Kinkoku’s seal at right, which reads "The spirit of the painting, not the form," articulates the literati tenet that capturing the true essence of a subject is more important than precise reproduction. Kinkoku retired to a studio close to Lake Biwa, which clearly inspired this view. However, the inclusion of sailboats and scattered Chinese-style studios suggests he has layered the locale with China’s island-studded West Lake, celebrated as the residence of the famous hermit Lin Bu, who chose wild cranes as his companions. Channeling the associative power of West Lake into a painting created on the shores of Japan’s Lake Biwa certainly would have been one means of realizing the true spirit of the site, rather than merely the form.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Yokoi Kinkoku, Japanese (Otsu 1761 - 1832)
Views of Lake Biwa at Sakamoto
Work Type
painting, screen
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Edo period, 1615-1868
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink and color on paper
painting proper: H. 156 × W. 348 cm (61 7/16 × 137 in.)
overall, flexed open at 160-degree angle: H. 172.4 × W. 335.3 cm (67 7/8 × 132 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • seal: left screen: Taihu Shujin
  • seal: left screen: Kinkoku
  • seal: right screen: Ga-i fu ga-kei
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), pp. 82-83, cat. 30

Yukio Lippit, "An Interview with Japanese Painting Collectors Robert and Betsy Feinberg", Orientations, Orientations Magazine (Hong Kong, January/February 2020), vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 34-43, pp. 40-41, figs. 8a and b

Rachel Saunders and Yukio Lippit, Painting Edo: Selections from the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art, exh. cat. (Cambridge, MA, 2020), pp. 16-17, fig. 3

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

32Q: 2600 East Asian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 12/01/2016 - 06/09/2017

Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/05/2020 - 07/18/2021

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