Screen with Design of Orchids

Artist/maker unknown, Japanese

Geography:
Made in Japan, Asia

Date:
c. 1910-30

Medium:
Zelkova burl with inlay of ivory and wood; mounted as a two-panel screen

Dimensions:
56 x 50 1/4 inches (142.2 x 127.6 cm) (Each Panel): 56 x 25 1/8 inches (142.2 x 63.8 cm)

Curatorial Department:
East Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
2008-7-5

Credit Line:
Gift of Frederick R. McBrien III, 2008

Social Tags [?]

flowers [x]   inlaid ivory [x]   japanese [x]   screen [x]   white orchids [x]   wood inlay [x]  


[Add Your Own Tags]

Label:
The anonymous artist of this screen has chosen to beautiful effect the path of simplicity, emphasizing unadorned expression akin to the mingei (folk art) ideal over technical bravura. The two large zelkova burl panels are mounted Chinese-style in footed frames with metal hinges. The panels are inlaid with ivory to form orchid flowers, with wood for the leaves and the dead tree trunk on which the plants grow.

Additional information:
  • PublicationThe Art of Japanese Craft: 1875 to the Present

    Two large panels of zelkova burl are mounted Chinese-style in footed frames with metal hinges. The panels are inlaid with ivory to form the orchid flowers, and with wood for the leaves and dead tree trunk on which the plants grow. The orchids and the outline of the tree trunk and its broken branches are deeply carved, while the bark of the dead tree trunk is depicted with hatchet strokes of irregular articulation. On the left panel there are five orchids in bloom and seven buds, while the right has two flowers. The background pattern of the burl is subtle, suggesting a humid, misty atmosphere. The smaller lower panels show abstracted vajra (Buddhist trident) motifs in relief executed in wood. In contrast to the elaborate workmanship of craftsmen such as Nakajima Mokudo, the anonymous artist of this screen has chosen to beautiful effect the path of simplicity, emphasizing unadorned expression akin to the mingei folk craft ideal, over technical bravura. Felice Fischer, from The Art of Japanese Craft: 1875 to the Present, Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin (2008), p. 28.