A beautiful and classic evocation of the Japanese aesthetic, this screen portrays the softly contoured hills partially shrouded in clouds. In the top left a shinto shrine floats above the clouds, and in contrast the right section of the screen illustrates lowly saltmakers on the shore, the figures rendered with an endearing detail and not without humour. The semi-abstract quality of the deliberately asymmetrical composition and the sumptuous combination of greens and gold are characteristic of the native Japanese style of 'yamato-e' painting. This style, based on outline and flat colour, had its origins in the literary interests of the Heian period, when such themes as the four seasons and famous scenic places brought a fresh and distinctively Japanese inspiration to native imagery and creativity.
Mount Sumiyoshi (previous title)
Place where the work was made
single six-panel screen; ink, colour and gold on paper
151.0 x 348.8 cm image; 166.5 x 364.6 cm screen
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Not on display
Where the work was made
Shown in 1 exhibition
In one drop of water, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Jun 2019–Dec 2020
Referenced in 3 publications
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian Collection: East Asia', pg. 246-287, Sydney, 1999, 274 (colour illus.).
Jackie Menzies, AGNSW Collections, 'Asian Art - India, South-East Asia, China, Tibet, Korea, Japan', pg. 173-228, Sydney, 1994, 215 (colour illus.).
Jackie Menzies and Edmund Capon AM, OBE, Asian Collection Handbook, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Japanese Painting', pg. 53-69, Sydney, 1990, 56-57 (colour illus.).