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Shiokawa Bunrin (Japanese, 1808–1877)

Shiokawa Bunrin is one of the few Japanese painters whose works appeared in the 1876 world’s fair known as the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition, though we don’t know if this screen was exhibited. The artist almost certainly made this work—with its vision of solitary, scattered rocks—for a Japanese audience, who would have been reminded of the spare rock gardens found in Zen Buddhist temples.

Although created nearly 150 years ago, the images decorating this screen have an abstract quality that appeals to our modern tastes.

Object Details

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