About this artwork
During the Edo period, the prosperity and political unification of Japan under the ruling Tokugawa shoguns led to the emergence of a magnificent Japanese decorative style characterized by a love of bold patterns and bright colors. This new style was supported by the military class, a disenfranchised aristocracy, and a thriving class of merchants and entrepreneurs. The surviving half of an original pair, this splendid screen elegantly embodies both the techniques of ancient court painters and the curiosity and confidence so prevalent in the Edo period. Bursting with sensual fullness, the maize and cockscombs are rendered with the accuracy of a botanical drawing, a testimony to the era’s interest in natural science. The appearance of maize, a grain not native to Japan, indicates a willingness to assimilate new subject matter on the part of Edo artists and patrons.
- Tawaraya Sôtatsu
- Maize and Cockscombs
- Six-panel screen; ink, color, and gold on paper
- 170.2 × 357 cm (67 in × 140 1/2 in.)
- Kate S. Buckingham Endowment