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Folding screen with three flower carts

unknown17th century

Royal Ontario Museum

Royal Ontario Museum

Folding screens are free-standing and portable furniture that were used to partition a room in a Japanese traditional residence, which was normally scarcely furnished and highly flexible. Screens also served as a major painting medium. These screens depict carts with seasonal flowers. The flower carts may reflect the richly decorated carts pulled by bulls for the Imperial family and noblemen in the Heian period (AD 794-1185), and also the renewed interest in the ancient court culture in the Edo period (AD 1603-1867). The use of strong colours against a gold-leaf ground, the asymmetrical composition of the main motif, and the bold omission of other explanatory motifs are all characteristics of Japanese style painting. The flowers on the screen with three carts (936.6.1) represent winter, autumn, and summer respectively from the left. In the other screen (936.6.2), spring and summer flowers are depicted.

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  • Title: Folding screen with three flower carts
  • Creator: unknown
  • Date: 17th century
  • Location: Japan
  • Physical Dimensions: w756 x h170.5 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Wood frame and paper with gold leaf and painted decoration
  • Time period: Edo period
  • Accession Number: 936.6.1

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