Pine Trees on Seashore


Pine Trees on Seashore

Paintings / Muromachi

Muromachi period, 16th century

Color on paper



Important Cultural Property

These folding screens were painted during the Muromachi period (1392–1573). There are two screens made up of six panels each.

Plants representing Japan’s four seasons are painted across the bottoms of both screens. The seasons progress from right to left, with dandelions and other spring flowers on the right screen as well as a willow tree with branches swinging in a summer breeze. The left screen begins with autumn Eulalia grass and ends with a snow-covered Chinese black pine tree at the extreme left. Numerous birds frolic around the vegetation. There are also people fishing and travelers on horseback.

The highlight of these screens is their composition, which skillfully combines numerous motifs. The trailing, golden clouds and the large trees drawn at each key point act as scene transitions. It is equally possible to stand back and view the whole painting and enjoy the changing seasons, or step closer to your favorite scene and appreciate the details of the plants, birds, and people. Because of the luxurious impression that these screens make due to the gold leaf pasted over the background and other lavish touches, it is thought that they were used on celebratory occasions.

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