left scroll, painting proper Photo © Photography: John Tsantes and Neil Greentree © Robert Feinberg
Gallery Text

Sekka began his artistic training in Kyoto under a Shijō master, specializing in a gauzy, semi-naturalistic mode of painting. But a shock encounter with Japanese-inspired art nouveau in Europe galvanized Sekka to develop a representatively “Japanese” aesthetic for the modern era, using the motifs and design principles associated with School of Kōrin painting. Sekka’s heavy involvement in the institutionalization of design education in Kyoto, art criticism, and publishing ensured that his influence continues to be felt to this day, particularly in the production of lacquerware. Each of the works in the adjacent cases exemplifies the ways in which Sekka manipulated traditional subjects, materials, and techniques into bright and carefully "designed" compositions whose visual appeal can stand independently of traditional symbolic content.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Kamisaka Sekka, Japanese (Kyoto 1866 - 1942)
Flowers of the Four Seasons
Work Type
hanging scroll, painting
c. 1920–30
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Taishō period, 1912-1926
Persistent Link
Level 3, Room 3620, University Study Gallery
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Pair of hanging scrolls; ink, color and gold on silk
each, painting proper: H. 141.6 × W. 72.4 cm (55 3/4 × 28 1/2 in.)
each, overall mounting, including roller ends and cord: H. 251.3 × W. 94.5 cm (98 15/16 × 37 3/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: each painting: Sekka
  • seal: each painting: Tou-tou
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

Murashige Yasushi and Kobayashi Tadashi, ed., Rinpa [Rimpa Paintings] vol. V, Shikosha Publishing Co. (Kyoto, Japan, 1992), p. 253, #17

Audrey Yoshiko Seo, Kamisaka Sekka: Master of Japanese Design, Orientations (Hong Kong, December 1993), December 1993, pp. 39-44, pp. 39-44

Donald A. Wood and Yuko Ikeda, ed., Kamisaka Sekka: Rimpa master - Pioneer of Modern Design, Asahi Shimbusha (Tokyo, Japan, 2003), ill. no. 6, pp. 86-87

The Flowering of Edo Period Painting: Japanese Masterworks from the Feinberg Collection, exh. cat., Yomiuri Shinbunsha (Tokyo, 2013), p. 60, cat. 17

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. 33, figs. 13a and b

Rachel Saunders and Yukio Lippit, Painting Edo: Selections from the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art, exh. cat. (Cambridge, MA, 2020), p. 94, fig. 82

Exhibition History

Kamisaka Sekka: Rimpa Master - Pioneer of Modern Design, National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Kyoto, 09/09/2003 - 10/19/2003; Sakura City Museum, Sakura, 11/08/2003 - 12/21/2003; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, 05/23/2004 - 08/01/2004

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, 06/01/2018 - 12/07/2018

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