Anonymous (17th century) Mt. Fuji and Musashino grasses
Lot 2079
Anonymous (17th century) Mt. Fuji and Musashino grasses
US$ 35,000 - 45,000
£21,000 - 27,000
Auction Details
Anonymous (17th century) Mt. Fuji and Musashino grasses Anonymous (17th century) Mt. Fuji and Musashino grasses
Lot Details
Anonymous (17th century)
Mt. Fuji and Musashino grasses
Pair of large six-panel screens, ink, color, gold and gold leaf on paper; the right featuring a rustic plank bridge disappearing into a field of wild grasses, the left with pine grove at the base of Mount Fuji partially obscured by clouds
58 x 140 3/16in (147.3 x 356cm) each


  • The pair of screens depicts two famous places in Japan (meisho-e): Mt. Fuji with the pine groves at Matsubara and the grasses of Musashino.

    The artist renders a dramatic and evocative image of Fuji, providing only a partial view of its slope, truncating the mountain so that it appears to extend above and below the frame, with gold clouds in the foreground enhancing the visual effect. The gently sloping mountainside leads the eye rightward to Miho no Matsubara, famous for its beautiful pines, elegant white beaches and the spectacular view of Mt. Fuji that may be seen from its shores.

    Once known as a vast plain covered with undulating autumn grasses, today Musashino is a northern suburb of Tokyo: first mentioned in a poem from the eighth century and evoking ever since the melancholic sighs of autumn.

    The juxtaposition of these two sites is rather unusual. It may be an oblique reference to two famous episodes from the 10th century Tales of Ise, Azumakudari (episode 12) and Musashino (episode 9), beloved subjects among Japanese artists. Azumakudari tells of the hero's journey to the east and the difficulty of leaving his loved ones in the capital. In Musashino, a young man abducts his lover and flees, pursued by village authorities. The couple finds temporary safety among the wild grasses of Musashino until those grasses are set aflame by their pursuers.

    Both Fuji and Musashino are rich with seasonal and poetic associations. The artist may thus be alluding to these by deliberately omitting some of the traditional motifs associated with the Ise chapters (the hero on horseback with his attendants, in Azumakudari; the moon, in Musashino).

    Although the artist of this stunning pair of screens is unknown, the remarkable compositions and emphasis on the use of malachite green is reminiscent of the Rinpa school, known for works of expressive designs and dazzling beauty.
  1. Jeff Olson
    Specialist - Japanese Art
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, 10022
    United States
    Work +1 212 461 6516
    FaxFax: +1 212 644 9007
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