Attributed to Sotatsu School / Flowers and Grasses of the Four Seasons / Edo period, c. 1620-1650Attributed to Sotatsu School
Flowers and Grasses of the Four Seasons
Edo period, c. 1620-1650

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Creator Name: Sotatsu
Creator Qualifier: School of
Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Japanese
Creator Name-CRT: Attributed to Sotatsu School
Title: Flowers and Grasses of the Four Seasons
View: Full view: left
Creation Start Date: 1620
Creation End Date: 1650
Creation Date: Edo period, c. 1620-1650
Creation Place: Japan
Object Type: Paintings
Materials and Techniques: Color and ink on gold leaf on paper
Parts and Pieces: pair of six-panel folding screens
Dimensions: Each 63 x 143 in. (160 x 363.2 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1985.001.1-2
Credit Line: Asia Society: Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Acquisitions Fund
Context: Rinpa is the name given to a group of artists whose work is characterized by bright colors, bold forms, lavish surfaces (often enhanced with gold and silver), the frequent use of a bird's-eye perspective, and a reliance on the painting styles and literary themes popular during the late Heian period (794-1185), when the Japanese court and nobility in Kyoto had been at their political and cultural height. Rinpa means 'rin school'; the term is derived from the last syllable of the name Korin in honorof Ogata Korin (1658-1716), one of the most influential artists of this school. The Rinpa ancestry is traced back to the painter and calligrapher Tawaraya Sotatsu (active 1600-1640) and Hon'ami Koetsu (1558-1637), best known for his calligraphy and pottery. Sotatsu, Koetsu, and Korin belonged to the machishu class of Kyoto society, wealthy, educated merchants who socialized with and catered to the Kyoto aristocracy, many of whom were impoverished. The interest in reviving early court culture that permeates the art of the Rinpa school is a reflection of the close cultural and personal ties between the machishu and the aristocracy.

Little is known about the life of Sotatsu. He began his career as a commercial painter and is known to have owned a fan shop called the Tawaraya. Although Tawaraya is the surname most commonly given to this artist, it is possible that his family name was either Kitagawa or Nonomura, names found among the lists of his followers. It has traditionally been accepted that around 1602 Sotatsu worked on the restoration of the 1164 Lotus Sutra dedicated by the Taira family and owned by the Itsukushima Shrine, the Heiki nokyo, now classified as a National Treasure. His work on this valuable illustrated scrollindicates that he was already considered an important artist. He was most active in the 1620s, and it is to this decade that most of his major paintings and collaborative calligraphic works are assigned.

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AMICA ID: ASIA.1985.001.1-2
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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