Pine Trees

Hasegawa TouhakuAzuchi-Momoyama period, 16th century

Tokyo National Museum

Tokyo National Museum
Tokyo, Japan

Along with Kanô Eitoku (1543-1590) and Kaihô Yûshô (1533-1615), Hasegawa Tôhaku (1539-1610) was an active participant in the painting circles of the Momoyama period (1573-1615), and in his art he diligently explored the expressive range of ink and the effects of light. This pair of screens is Tôhaku's representative work, a masterpiece of early modern ink painting.

A dense mist fills the entire picture; the pine grove of the left screen recedes deeply into the snow-covered mountains at the extreme right, while two groups of trees on the right screen incline towards each other and suggest the undulations of the ground. The brushwork used to depict the pine needles and background is rough. Walking through the thick mist, black shadows appear; you are surrounded by pine trees and can just detect the tops of mountains. The quiet scene, a momentary experience captured for eternity, evokes the rustic and refined realm of wabi ("elegant simplicity").

There are many enigmas about this pair of screens, which indicate that this might have been a preparatory work: the paper joints are irregular; the measurements of the width of the paper in the right and left screens are different; there is a divergence in the ground line; the cropping of the pine tree at the far right is unusual; and the seals for "Hasegawa" and "Tôhaku" at the outside edge of each screen are different from the standard seals for this artist. The theme of the painting draws on such subjects as Hamamatsu from the Japanese-style (J. yamato-e) landscape tradition. On the other hand, it is also a remarkable example of how the naturalistic ideas and ink-painting method of the Chinese painter-monk Mu Qi (active c. late thirteenth century) of the Southern Song dynasty (c. 1127-1279), much favored by Tôhaku, were embraced in Japan.


  • Title: Pine Trees
  • Creator: Hasegawa Touhaku
  • Creator Lifespan: 1539 - 1610
  • Date Created: Azuchi-Momoyama period, 16th century
  • Physical Dimensions: w345.1 x h155.1 cm (Each)
  • Object Title: 松林図屏風
  • Object Notes(Japanese): 長谷川等伯(1539-1610)は、狩野永徳、海北友松(かいほうゆうしょう)らとともに桃山時代の画壇で活躍し、墨の濃淡や光の効果的表現を追求した。これは等伯の代表作で近世水墨画の傑作である。 画面全体に霧が立ちこめ、左隻の松林は右端の雪山まで奥深く続き、右隻では向かい合った林がたがいに傾いて地面の起伏を暗示する。松葉や地塗りの筆致は荒い。ひんやりとした霧の中を歩いていると黒い影が現れ、松林に囲まれていて、かすかに山の頂が望まれる。一瞬の体験を永遠にとどめたような、静まり返った光景は、わびの境地ともいえる世界である。 不規則な紙継ぎ、左右で寸法の異なる紙幅、地面の線のずれ、両端で切れた松、画面両端の「長谷川」「等伯」印が基準印と異なることなど、謎が多く、草稿ともいわれる。主題の上では「浜松図」など、やまと絵景物画の流れを汲むが、等伯が私淑した中国・南宋時代の画僧牧谿(もつけい)の、自然に忠実たろうとする思想と水墨技法が、日本で到達し得た希有の例である。
  • Object Date: 安土桃山時代・16世紀
  • Medium(Japanese): 紙本墨画
  • Artist Name: 長谷川等伯筆
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: http://www.emuseum.jp/detail/100151
  • Medium: Ink on paper

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