Autumn and Winter Landscapes
This work consists of a set of two 6-panelled folding screens. It depicts scenes of autumn to winter from right to left.
The screen to your right shows a small hermitage amid a landscape of water and trees. The screen to your left depicts a landscape shrouded in thick snow. A man fishes on a boat while another man on a donkey traverses a mountain path with a single attendant. Both are clad in Chinese-style garments. Ink paintings on the theme of autumn and winter landscapes came to Japan from China and they became very popular from the Muromachi period, which lasted from around 1392 to 1573. The paintings feature imaginary places that exist only within the human soul. The figures within the paintings are not mere village folk either. They are noble characters who have retreating from the world to live an idealized life of seclusion.
The painter Maruyama Okyo was active in Kyoto during the mid-Edo period. As this work shows, he focused on realism. Though the human figures and so on have a Chinese appearance, Okyo has also imbued the landscapes with a familiar Japanese feel. He has successfully combined the idealized landscapes of traditional Chinese paintings with actual landscapes from Japan.