Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

This screen playfully explores optical reality. The fish and turtles moving through the limpid water lapping at the sand bar are rendered with such scientific accuracy that they can be identified as male and female carp, killifish, and minnows. The fish and turtles are painted on one layer of translucent silk and the water on another, mounted behind the first, so that the creatures appear to swim in the moiré of the silk itself. Despite its novelty, however, this illusory aquatic world still operates within the traditional East Asian framework of auspicious painting, in which the combination of fish, turtles, and pines like those growing at the water’s edge symbolizes wishes for success and longevity.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
2018.356
People
Maruyama Ōkyo, Japanese (Anafuto, Tamba province 1733 - 1795)
Title
Fish and Turtles
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting, screen
Date
c. 1772 - 1781
Places
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Period
Edo period, 1615-1868
Culture
Japanese
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/340515
Location
Level 3, Room 3500, Special Exhibitions Gallery
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Two-panel folding screen; ink and color on silk
Dimensions
painting proper, each panel: H. 59.2 × W. 89.6 cm (23 5/16 × 35 1/4 in.)
with mount, each panel: H. 64.2 × W. 94.4 × D. 1.5 cm (25 1/4 × 37 3/16 × 9/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: Ōkyo sha
  • seal: Ōkyo no in
Provenance
[Yanagi Hiroshi, Kyoto, (1989)], sold; to Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, Bethesda, MD (1989-2018), gift; to the Harvard Art Museums, 2018.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg
Accession Year
2018
Object Number
2018.356
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Commentary
Tea-size (furosake) screens
Publication History

Jidai byobu shuka, Shikosha Publishing Co. (Kyoto, Japan, 1990)

The Flowering of Edo Period Painting: Japanese Masterworks from the Feinberg Collection, exh. cat., Yomiuri Shinbunsha (Tokyo, 2013), pp. 108-109, cat. 47

Rachel Saunders, "Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection", Orientations, Orientations Magazine (Hong Kong, January/February 2020), vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 20-33, p. 26, figs. 6a and 6b

Rachel Saunders and Yukio Lippit, Painting Edo: Selections from the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art, exh. cat. (Cambridge, MA, 2020), pp. 74-75, figs. 62-63

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