Old Plum

Title: Old Plum 

Artist: Kano Sansetsu 

Period: Edo Period (1615-1868)

Date: 1646

Culture : Japan 

Medium: Four sliding-door panels, ink,color, and gold leaf on paper 

Dimensions: Overall (of all four panels) 68 3/4 x 191 1/8 in. (174.6 x 485.5 cm)

Respiratory : The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The four sliding door panel  has an overall dimension of 68 ¾ x 191 ⅛ inch. In this massive four sliding door panel there is an old plum tree that branches out towards the third panel door. The old plum tree has a dark and neutral color palette that illustrates the likelihood of it coming to an end of its life cycle. However, there are small details of flowers that are white and pink that are depicted throughout the old plum tree. For the viewers this highlights hope  that even the oldest plum tree can still produce life and something beautiful at the end. Due to this beautiful representation of life after death it symbolizes season change from fall to spring. On the first panel on the sliding door the representation of season changing is shown by the flowers blooming beautifully on what looks to be rocky soil. One thing to notice is the way the old plum tree makes an archway towards the middle, gravitating the viewer to go through it. Once the viewer slides the panel they would find themselves in a stunning zen garden that is the complete opposite of the old plum tree panel painting . Although the symbolism of season changing is illustrated in the panel, the use of golden leaf in the background hints at the individual who owned this came from wealth.


Author: Ramon Carrillo Martinez

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