Golden Fantasies: Japanese Screens from New York Collections
Asia Society home
Tosa Mitsuoki (1617-91)
Cherry Trees at Yoshino
Edo period (1615-1868), late 1650s-1660s?
Pair of six-panel screens; ink, color, and gold on paper
John C. Weber Collection
Cat. no. 12

The poetic association of cherry blossom with Yoshino was so established that a view of cherry trees in full bloom immediately suggested this “famous place” (meisho). Here, the very basic elements—cherry trees and a stream—are abstracted from the populated scenes of merry-making, seen in the right screen of the adjacent Cherry-Blossom Viewing at Yoshino and Itsukushima, and are made to stand for the whole. The profusion of light pink petals is contoured in a technique using powered clam shells; they dazzle against the clouds and banks of mist.

The screens are signed “Tosa shôgen Mitsuoki hitsu” (From the brush of Tosa Mitsuoki, of the shôgen rank). Mitsuoki re-established the fortunes of the Tosa school, painters to the imperial court, and this work is thought to date from shortly after he received the shôgen rank in 1654.

The screens will be rotated on April 6, 2004 First rotationSecond rotation