Old Pines at Seashore, Formerly interior paintings of Kiun'in Temple
This painting, depicted across four sliding doors, features pines by the seashore. A huge, seemingly endless landscape looms large, with the ocean and the mountains growing hazier as they range off into the distance. Maruyama Okyo was a painter active during the late Edo period. He belonged to the shasei-ha, or the 'sketching' group. This work uses different shades of ink to create a magnificent landscape that unfurls before the eyes.
This work on these four sliding doors was once part of a larger series of panel paintings that adorned the interior of Kiun'in temple on the grounds of Nanzen-ji temple in Kyoto. Out of Okyo's works preserved at Kiun'in temple, 24 sliding doors, five hanging scrolls, and three 2-panelled folding screens later entered the Tokyo National Museum collection. Okyo painted several other works depicting the seasons, including 'Willow Trees at Riverside' and 'Landscape in Snow.' The portrayal of the ocean suggests this work is depicting summer.
These panel paintings were housed in the hojo, or abbot's chambers. We don't know the exact layout, but it is thought the painting themes were chosen to match the role of each room. It must have been an impressive sight when the entire building was decorated with paintings like this.