Edo period, 17th century
Color over gold on paper
H x W (overall): 181 x 377.9 cm (71 1/4 x 148 3/4 in)
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Grains and vegetables—including corn, eggplant, and taro—are unusual additions to this array of seasonal flowers depicted in an imaginary gardenlike setting. From right to left, the blooming or fruiting plants represent a seasonal progression from early spring (bog rhubarb and kerria) to late summer, when ripe wheat and millet mingle with autumn-blooming flowers such as bush clover and Chinese bellflowers. The convention of depicting seasonal plants arranged against a gold ground on folding screens and sliding paper-panelled doors (fusuma) originated in the Kyoto workshop of Tawaraya Sotatsu (active circa 1600-1640) and became a successful mainstay of that studio's repetoire. One hallmark of the Sotatsu style is the use of overlapping wet pigments that blur at the edges, a technique known as tarashikomi.