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An exceptionally decorative and very rare silver leaf byobu screen. 64cm tall by 136cm wide (25 x 53.5 inches).
This is a Shijo school school painting, dating from the late Edo period, circa 1840's. The Shijo school concentrated less on the exact depiction of its subject, but rather on expressing the inner spirit and usually has an element of playfulness and humor, popular motifs include tranquil landscapes and kachō (bird and flower). The composition here is very powerful, with the inclusion of the wholly abstract black seed shape (decopauged over the silver leaf) behind the bird. It seems to serve no purpose other than that the composition needs it to be complete. Very unusual to see an element like this in a kachō painting, it marks it out as the work of an incredibly confident and capable artist.
The silver leaf, unlike the gold normally used, is prone to tarnish and here has the effect of a superbly foxed mirror plate. This takes the piece to a level not normally seen on byobu with the inclusion of a stunning patina adding to the scene.
- overall excellent, with only very minor paint loss (on the second leaf, there is a scuff to a couple of the green leaves, revealing a lighter green underneath) not very noticeable.
- There is damage to the hinging on the central fold (visible from the back, see images). This is stable and doesn't inhibit the display of the piece but care needs to be taken when handling. (These screens are ingeniously constructed with folding paper hinges, the "hinges" are integral to the piece, the whole structure being a very complex piece of origami. Here there is a tear at the bottom of the hinged section meaning the central join can splay at the base.) These are torn at the reverse only, intact at the front so still connected.
Please use the Google Drive link for all the images we have, including damages
Care and display:
Japanese screens were made to be displayed on the floor, normally as room dividers. They are not made to be displayed flat, on a wall as per western artworks. Ideally, this would be kept on a shelf or sideboard where it can stand comfortably, with each leaf angled or you risk permanently damaging the integrity of the structure. However, the relative popularity of these screens in the US means there are now bespoke hangings available, designed to support the screen on a wall without putting any pressure on the hingeing. We can point you in the right direction if you would like to hang the screen.
UK mainland shipping is £75, by dedicated courier. Please contact for international shipping or hard to reach parts of the UK.
Japanese Edo Period Byobu Screen
We are happy to accept returned items if they arrive damaged or are not as described. No other reason will guarantee a refund. Please study images carefully, they count as part of the description. We are happy to supply additional information and images on request
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