Six-fold screen; gold ground.
169 x 376 cm
The term ‘Rinpa’ is an amalgamation between the last syllable from ‘Kōrin’, name of the mayor exponent of this artistic movement, and the word pa, literally “school” or “group”. However, it is to say that this name was given only later, in the 17th century, when Kōrin (1658 – 1716) further developed the school’s style. Concretely it refers to the broadly teaching of Kōrin masters. The first promoters of the Rinpa style are identified with the calligrapher Hon’ami Kōetsu (1558 – 1637) and the painter Tawaraya Sōtatsu (? – 1640); they have been collaborating together in the creation of an eclectic and extremely elegant aesthetic applied on both paintings and crafts. In fact, "Rinpa" is somewhat of a misnomer in that the style was not passed on through an organization or through teacher-student relationships. It comprised independent artists, each of whom admired the work of his predecessors and reverently followed their styles, eventually developing the school as a whole. The fact that there is a 100-year disparity between Sotatsu and Korin attests to this unique form of development.
Sōtatsu’s style can be seen here clearly on the geometric stylisation of the mountains’ shape emerging from the clouds on the right as well as on the shape of the waves formed by the waterfall on the left. Both features are found in Sōtatsu’s masterpiece“Waves at Matsushima”, a pair of screens preserved at the Freer Gallery of Art.