Scenes from the Tropics: Morning


Scenes from the Tropics: Morning

Paintings / Taisho

By Imamura Shikō (1880–1916)

Taishō era, 1914

Color on paper



Important Cultural Property

Scenes depicting tropical landscapes, buildings and people unfurl across two scrolls that are both nearly two meters in length. Though they adopt traditional Japanese painting formats, materials and methods, the paintings create a powerful impression with their exotic themes, simplified motifs, pointillist brushwork, and the way they represent light using strong, bright colors and gold dust.

Imamura Shiko was a Japanese-style painter. He was born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1880 and he died in 1916. He created original works that strove to break free of tradition to carve out new territories for Japanese-style painting. His innovative style caused waves in contemporary painting circles and it also had a huge impact on later generations of artists. This creativity is on full display in this representative work.

Shiko travelled to India in 1914. After calling in at several ports, he arrived in India and spent 15 days in Calcutta. He composed and painted this work based on materials gathered during this trip. The two scrolls are titled Morning Scroll and Evening Scroll. It is thought the Morning Scroll was inspired by people living on the water in Singapore and Penang, with the Evening Scroll based on Kaya, a village that sits on a tributary of the Ganges in eastern India.

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