Late Meiji/Early Taisho Nihonga screen circa 1910’s. 172cm x 199cm (67.7 x 78.3 inches). Painted on silk laid on paper with vibrant mineral pigments. Indistinct seal at bottom right. From a private collection in Württemberg, collected between the 1950s and 2000.
Standing at a towering two metres and lavishly produced with the finest pigments, this is a prestigious screen of the highest quality, a showcase for a masterful artist that displays prodigious skills in layout, drawing, colour composition and execution.
With the subtlest use of colour, the painting depicts the movement of summer into autumn. The lowering branches of a pine travel across a lush and verdant landscape to where a kingfisher sits among the leaves of an acer starting to brown. The earthy pigments of the under-painting allow for warm russet tones to play on the mossy rocks of the pool, further hinting at the season to come.
Malachite and azurite have been finely powdered to create especially bright pigments for the plants and the pool, generating a rare degree of luminosity. The coral flowers sing against the azure water. The yellow tinged wisteria seems to glow with an inner vitality. With its startlingly modern appearance and mastery of established technique the screen epitomises the Nihonga movement, the impetus of which was to reinvigorate traditional painting by developing a more contemporary Japanese style.
Condition is exceptional, bright and clean. Some small signs of old water damage above the wagtail on the rock have been sensitively restored. The lacquered frame with some age related surface wear but no visible losses (small losses to the lacquer at the back of the screen). The original silk backing was damaged beyond restoration so has been replaced. The reverse is now lined with a double layer of Washi paper, then covered with a third layer of old Japanese kozo ledger papers, a traditional method of making up the layers.
There is more to photograph on this beautiful screen than we can accommodate on the listing. Please see lots more additional images including the seal, reverse lining etc here
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Taisho Period two Panel Japanese Screen with Bamboo Fountain, Birds & Flowers
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