Golden Fantasies: Japanese Screens from New York Collections
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The Four Seasons
Muromachi or Momoyama period, mid- to late-16th century
Pair of six-panel screens; ink and light color on paper
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, 1979.216.1-2
Cat. no. 7

The imaginary landscape stretching across these screens presents a progression through the four seasons, with spring and summer on the right screen and autumn and winter on the left screen. In various places gentlemen relax in Chinese-style pavilions, converse with female companions, hold drinking parties, or make their way through the landscape.

This theme is a typical example of the gentleman-scholar’s idealized vision of a world of leisure and an escape from the day-to-day cares of life. Both this theme and the representation of landscapes in the four seasons derive from Chinese painting. Though the work has much in common stylistically with Scenes of Rice Cultivation in the Four Seasons (first half only), the depiction of leisurely pursuits contrasts with the emphasis on labor in those screens.

Screen 8
The screens will be rotated on April 6, 2004 First rotation Second rotation