Nothing could be more telling of the unique Japanese aesthetic than the mysterious poetry of this screen, as abbreviated in its delivery as it is fulfilling in its effect. Watanabe Shikô belonged to the very Japanese Rinpa school of painting, named after Ogata Kôrin (1658-1716) with whom Shikô studied. The school's origins go back to the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, when the artists Tawaraya Sôtatsu and Hon'ami Kôetsu sought to re-establish the brilliant style and unique sensitivity of the aristocratic art of Japan's 'golden age', the Heian period (794-1184). Hallmarks of the Rinpa school are a rich but refined decorative effect, achieved through an impeccable compositional balance; a fondness for metallic washes and inlays; and an emphasis on nature. Here the full autumn moon peers out from the mountain-side, and pine trees are defined by a few sparse but expressive black ink strokes.
Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg. 278.
Place where the work was made
single two-panel screen; ink, gold and silver on paper
168.0 x 184.0 cm image; 172.5 x 188.4 cm screen
Signature & date
Signed l.l., in Japanese, ink "[artist's seal]". Not dated. [left screen]
Signed l.r., in Japanese, ink "[artist's seal]". Not dated. [right screen]
Purchased with funds provided by Kenneth Myer 1990
Not on display
Where the work was made
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Referenced in 5 publications
Edmund Capon, Orientations, 'Asian Collections in the Art Gallery of New South Wales', pg. 76-79, Hong Kong, Sep 2000, 77 (colour illus.). fig.3
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian Collection: East Asia', pg. 246-287, Sydney, 1999, 278 (colour illus.).
Jackie Menzies, AGNSW Collections, 'Asian Art - India, South-East Asia, China, Tibet, Korea, Japan', pg. 173-228, Sydney, 1994, 219 (colour illus.).
Moon road to dawn: an encounter of Chinese and Japanese traditional music, Arizona, 1999, front cover (colour illus.). this is the cover of an audio-CD of traditional Chinese and Japanese music
The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2003, 11 (colour illus.).