Okamoto Toyohiko, Seashore and Mountains in the Seasons, a pair of 6-fold screen paintings


British Museum

British Museum

The traditional subject of the changing seasons is portrayed here, but in a very impressionistic, abbreviated way. Summer appears on the right, with leaves on the trees, and boats moored in the rain on calm sea, which is itself suggested only by an unpainted area. The snow-laden trees and mountain hut of the left screen represent winter.

Okamoto Toyohiko was one of the two most important pupils of Go Shun (1752-1811), the founder of the Shijo school of painting in Kyoto. The boat moored with its stern to the viewer (right screen), and the group of crows in the tree (left screen) are both motifs that originated with Go Shun. Toyohiko is renowned for his fluid brushwork, skilful use of space, and interest in the lives of ordinary country folk. Humanity is suggested here by the fishing boats and the farmers trudging to a ramshackle building in the snow. In the characteristic manner of Shijo painting, the highly nuanced brush strokes and ink washes subtly suggest season, weather and time of day.

The signature on the right screen reads 'Oka Toyohiko sei' (Produced by Oka[moto] Toyohiko), and the seal reads 'Toyohiko'. On the left screen the signature reads, 'Hinotō-i shunjitsu, Oka Toyohiko sei' (Produced by Oka[moto]Toyohiko on a spring day in the Boar Year (=1827)' and the seal is, again, 'Toyohiko'.

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  • Title: Okamoto Toyohiko, Seashore and Mountains in the Seasons, a pair of 6-fold screen paintings
  • Date Created: 1827/1827
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 154.40cm; Width: 354.20cm; Height: 171.50cm (screen); Width: 370.80cm (screen)
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: painted
  • Subject: landscape; seascape
  • Registration number: 1995,1110,0.1-2
  • Production place: Made in Kyoto-shi
  • Producer: Painted by Toyohiko, Okamoto
  • Period/culture: Edo Period; Bunsei Era
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Milne Henderson, Sondra. With contribution from Art Fund