The Art of Japanese Screens and Furnishings

Ref. 5567

A two-fold paper screen painted in ink and colour on a gold ground with the moon behind golden clouds and kiku (chrysanthemum) amongst autumn grasses.

Japan Edo period 18th century

Dimensions: H. 184.5cm x W. 203cm

This subject matter is inspired by a Heian period tradition of meisho-e (pictures of famous scenic places). The scene is of the Plains at Musashino, a large flat expanse of land west of modern Tokyo, which was frequented during the Edo period by picnickers inspired by its haunting beauty and spectacular views of Mount Fuji. Whilst unlikely to have been a meisho in the thirteenth century, there is a poem written by Minamoto no Michikata included in the imperial poetry anthology of c.1265, the Shoku Kokinshu (collection of ancient and modern poems, continued). The translation reads:

The moon finds no hills to hide behind in Musashino
White clouds hang at the tips of the pampas grasses.