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

Seedpods hang from the tips of frail, bent stems in this wildly brushed painting by the female artist Okuhara Seiko. Sensationalized during her lifetime for cropping her hair and wearing male clothing, Seiko’s Chinese-style ink paintings were hugely popular in the years immediately following the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Although her uninhibited style seems to speak to a modern individualistic sensibility, Seiko rooted her practice in the study of historical Chinese models. She underlines her identity as a scholar-recluse by inscribing a Chinese poem about the pleasures of drifting in a boat among lotuses under a moonlit sky. Her erratic wet-dry brushstrokes capture the messy decay of the autumnal lotuses, surrounding the viewer so that she, too, is among the stems.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Okuhara Seikō, Japanese (1837 - 1913)
Lotus in Autumn
Work Type
hanging scroll, painting
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Meiji period, 1868-1912
Persistent Link
Level 3, Room 3620, University Study Gallery
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Hanging scroll; ink on paper
painting proper: H. 178.3 × W. 97 cm (70 3/16 × 38 3/16 in.)
overall mounting, including roller ends and suspension cord: H. 240 × W. 103.2 cm (94 1/2 × 40 5/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • seal: right: Komori token sho chokko
  • inscription:
    : Henshin toku ni yoyaku kori kori ni kiraisu kako tsuki hitotsu tsurisuru
  • inscription: Seikō bokuto enunro ni sakushu jiko
  • seal: left: Gandai getsusho
  • seal: left: Tatsu sansenno shuki karyu no ken
  • seal: left: Shin-I hatto no naka ni izu myori goho no soto ni yosu
  • seal: left: Bokuto en unsho shishoga-in
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

Kissaten Seiko (Tokyo, Japan, 1929)

The Flowering of Edo Period Painting: Japanese Masterworks from the Feinberg Collection, exh. cat., Yomiuri Shinbunsha (Tokyo, 2013), p. 101, cat. 41

Musée Cernuschi, Le Japon au fil des saisons: Collection Robert et Betsy Feinberg, exh. cat., Paris-Musées (Paris, 2014), pp. 136-137

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. 32, fig. 12

Rachel Saunders and Yukio Lippit, Painting Edo: Selections from the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art, exh. cat. (Cambridge, MA, 2020), p. 96, fig. 84

Exhibition History

Through the Seasons: Japanese Art in Nature, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, 06/07/1999 - 10/18/1999

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, 02/14/2020 - 07/18/2021

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

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