Height: 1473.000 mm
Width: 3010.000 mm (each)
Asia JA JP ADD381-2 (1965.10-12.01-02)
The four seasons with the sun and moon, a pair of 6-fold screen paintings
Momoyama period, late 16th century AD
This pair of screens is painted with motifs of the four seasons. On one screen spring is represented by cherry blossoms, and summer with various appropriate flowers. On the other are red maple leaves of autumn and finally bamboos weighed down with the snows of winter. However, the composition differs from a traditional 'flower and bird' painting, since the design is unified across both screens by the foreground of decorative bamboo and brushwood fences, suggesting the landscape setting of a village.
The paintings contain a number of symbolic elements. Spring and summer are marked by the sun, the ancient symbol of the male Yang (yō) seen here through branches of pine, another male symbol. The crescent moon of autumn and winter represents the female principle of Yin (in) and appears here with the feminine maple. Both sun and moon were also representative of Buddhist and Shintō deities and these screens, like others of their kind may have had some importance in Esoteric Buddhist purification ceremonies at a temple.
This painting is
probably by an independent
painter) working broadly within the
L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)
I. Hirayama and T. Kobayashi (eds.), Hizō Nihon bijutsu taikan, vol. 1 (Tokyo, Kodansha, 1992)