VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Cypress tree
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

Against a backdrop of gold-leafed ground and clouds, the powerful form of an enormous tree fills the screen with its great spreading branches. By simplifying the background, minimizing the number of colors, and by depicting the tree bark energetically with a seemingly coarse brush, the artist has emphasized the commanding presence of the cypress tree. The dark blue waters of a pond peek out from openings in the gold ground and gold clouds. The strong life force of the powerful tree shows the artist's own passionate spirit and, at the same time, conveys the unconstrained aesthetic of Momoyama elite warriors. It is a National Treasure.

History of the Object
This folding screen, celebrated as a representative work of monumental polychromy-and-gold painting of the Momoyama period (1573-1615), was handed down within the Katsuranomiya family (formerly known as the Hachijônomiya family). With the death of the final heir and subsequent end of the house in 1881, it became a Treasure of the Imperial Collection (J. gyobutsu). From the telltale traces of door pulls in the paper, it is believed that the paintings on these screens were originally sliding-door paintings in the Hachijônomiya residence, which was completed in the twelfth month of Tenshô 18 (1590). They are therefore thought to be a very late work by Kanô Eitoku (1543-1590), the most famous painter of the time.

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Type
Painting 
Materials
Color and gold leaf on paper - one folding screen 
Measurements
Width 460.5cm Height 169.5cm  
Creator name
attributed to Kano Eitoku 
Creator date
1543-1590 
Where it was made
Japan 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
AD 16th century ~ AD 16th century 
Creation date
16th Century; Momoyama Period 
Function
art work 
Acquisition
It is the current policy of the Tokyo National Museum not to publish the acquisition history of its collection on Internet. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Tokyo National Museum 
Museum
Tokyo National Museum 
Credit line
Tokyo National Museum 

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