Waves at Matsushima

Title: Waves at Matsushima
Creator: Tawaraya Sotatsu
Period: Edo, 17th century
Location: Japan
Type: Screens (six-panel)
Medium: Ink, color, gold, and silver on paper
Dimensions: 65 ⅜” X 145 ⅝”  (each panel)
Collection: Freer Gallery of Art
Repository: Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, Washington,

Depicting the Pine Islands (Matsushima) in northeastern Japan, Sotatsu’s six-panel piece perfectly highlights one of the “Three Views” of Japan. The piece utilizes vivid colors of blue, brown, and green on the rock formations that bloom with pine trees, and a gold underscore accentuates these mineral features among the more lightened ink and gold waves banking around the islands. Here, there is a strong mixture among three of the five elements, or godai, in Japanese tradition: earth, water, and wind. The clouds, painted with gold and silver, blend with the rock and are almost viewed as touching the waves below. This scene, outlined by blue and gold, encapsulates Sotatsu’s style from the Rinpa school.

Photo Reference: Photo taken by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art.
Link: https://asia.si.edu/object/F1906.231-232/

Author: Christian Jacobsen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *