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Gallery Text

The seasons in this virtual garden progress from right to left: in the right-most panels of the right screen, springtime yellow kerria roses grow above young pines, violets, and bracken shoots; a notional path then leads to butterflies fluttering above magnificent summer peonies. In the left screen, autumnal chrysanthemums transition to wintry nandina with scarlet berries, white narcissus, and bamboo grass. Painted gardens such as this—the result of the cross-fertilization of imported Chinese and Korean paintings with classical Japanese themes at a moment when Kyoto’s elite were enthusiastically landscaping their own physical gardens— were a specialty of the I’nen Studio of Tawaraya Sōtatsu (active c. 1600–1640). This example is unique for its inclusion of insects with the luxuriant flora.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Previously attributed to Tawaraya Sōtatsu 俵屋宗達, Japanese (Noto Province active c. 1600–1640 Kaga Province)
Flowers of the Four Seasons
Work Type
screen, painting
17th century
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. 157.5 cm (62 in.)
overall with mount: H. 172.9 × W. 364.8 cm (68 1/16 × 143 5/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • seal: Inen (each screen)


Recorded Ownership History
[HOSOMI Minoru, Osaka, (by 1988)], sold; to Robert and Betsy Feinberg, Bethesda, MD (1988-2017), gift; to Harvard Art Museums.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Publication History

  • Yamane Yūzō, ed., Rinpa kaiga zenshu: vol. III (Kyoto, Japan, 1977), #67, p. 288
  • Murashige Yasushi, Rinpa [Rimpa Painting] vol. I, Shikosha Publishing Co. (Kyoto, Japan, 1989), #17, pp. 46-47
  • Rachel Saunders and Yukio Lippit, Painting Edo: Selections from the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art, exh. cat. (Cambridge, MA, 2020), p. 40, fig. 28

Exhibition History

  • 32Q: 2600 East Asian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 06/01/2018 - 12/07/2018

Related Works

Verification Level

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