Pine Trees


Pine Trees

Paintings / Muromachi

Attributed to Tosa Mitsunobu (1469–1523)

Muromachi period, 16th century

Color and gold leaf on paper



Important Cultural Property

This folding screen features rocks and two sets of paired pine trees against a gold-leafed background. The tree trunks are painted in brown with no outlines. They form 'S' shapes as they rise sinuously upwards. The rounded, green leaves are also drawn without contours and their blurry edges create a soft, gentle impression. The artist has given the work a sense of perspective by placing the larger pair of pines in the bottom right and the smaller pair in the top left. They lie against a flat gold background with no clouds or land surfaces.

Folding screens depicting trees and plants against a gold ground were a staple of 15th century literature, but real-life examples are quite rare, thus making this a very valuable work.

On the bottom left, an inscription by the Edo-period painter Tosa Mitsuoki attributes this work to Tosa Mitsunobu, a painter during the late Muromachi period. Though this cannot be confirmed, the work is thought to date back to the 16th century, when Mitsunobu was indeed active.

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