Farming Scenes


Farming Scenes

Paintings / Edo

By Kusumi Morikage (dates unknown)

Edo period, 17th century

Ink and light color on paper



This folding screen painting portrays farmers working in the great outdoors throughout the four seasons. Starting with spring, a whole year of agricultural labor is depicted from left to right. We see farmers plowing with an ox, sowing seeds and planting rice, then harvesting and threshing the rice in autumn. Houses, trees, rice paddies and other motifs are drawn to the left and right, with an open expanse and a distant mountain range occupying the center ground. As the scenes recede into the background, the ink grows fainter and the motifs start to overlap. This draws the observer deeper and deeper into the picture.

There is something humorous about the serene expressions on the farmers' faces as they go about their work. The painting portrays an ideal world where the ruled are able to work hard and prosper thanks to the wise governance of the ruler. At the end of the day, though, this painting of a rural idyll was produced for the ruler, not for the enjoyment of the people who actually feature in it.

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