Shōrin-zu byōbu

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Pine trees (松林図) by Hasegawa Tōhaku

The Pine Trees screen (松林図 屏風, Shōrin-zu byōbu) is a pair of six-panel folding screens (byōbu) by the Japanese artist Hasegawa Tōhaku. The precise date for the screens is not known, but they were clearly made in the late 16th century, in the Momoyama period, around 1595. The screens are held by the Tokyo National Museum, and were designated as a National Treasure of Japan in 1952.[1][2][3]

The ink-on-paper work depicts a view of Japanese pine trees in the mist, with parts of the trees visible and parts obscured, illustrating the Zen Buddhist concept of ma () and evoking the Japanese wabi () aesthetic of rustic simplicity. They are said to be the first paintings of their scale to depict only trees as subject matter, although a white shape to the upper right of the left panel might suggest a background mountain peak. Each screen measures 156.8 by 356 centimetres (61.7 in × 140.2 in).[1][2][3]

Each of the twelve panels comprises six joined pieces of paper, but the top and bottom pieces are half the usual size. Some aspects of the screens suggest the screen may be a preparatory work: unusually, the sizes of paper used in each screen are slightly different, and the joins between the sheets are not completely regular; and the seals for the artists names "Hasegawa" and "Tōhaku" do not use the usual forms. The trees on the far right of the right panel are cropped, suggesting that the order of the panels may have been altered or that some may have been replaced.[2]

The work is a development of suibokuga (水墨画) paintings made with Chinese ink (, sumi), using dark and light shades on a silk or paper medium. It combines naturalistic Chinese ideas of ink painting by Muqi Fachang (Chinese: 牧溪法常; pinyin: Mu-ch'i Fa-ch'ang) with themes from the Japanese yamato-e (大和絵) landscape tradition, influenced by the "splashed ink" (溌墨, hatsuboku) works of Sesshū Tōyō. The painting makes use of the intended foldings of the screen in use to create perspective, with branches directed towards or away from the viewer. The artist Hasegawa Tōhaku (長谷川 等伯) was the founder of the Hasegawa school of Japanese art.[2][3]

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  1. ^ a b "Pine Trees". Tokyo National Museum. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  2. ^ a b c d "Pine Trees Screen", Emuseum, Tokyo National Museum, retrieved 2017-06-27
  3. ^ a b c Hasegawa Tohaku - Pine Trees (Shorin-zu-byobu), theartwolf, retrieved 2017-06-27