The mimosa (nemunoki) tree is indigenous to Japan but was infrequently depicted in paintings . This work is dominated by the mimosa canopy sheltering the grasses and flowers underneath. The plants are rendered in the “boneless” style (i.e., without outline). The compositional formula—an expansive umbrella with no reference to trunk or roots—is associated with paintings found in Biliang, China, indicating a possible influence from that region. Other paintings with the I’nen seal sometimes employ this device, but this four-panel folding screen is a very early example. The dimensions suggest that the painting was originally created for sliding-door panels (fusuma). It bears the I’nen seal, which indicates that it is by a Tawaraya studio artist.
Mimosa Tree, Poppies, and Other Summer Flowers
Sōtatsu school, I’nen seal
Ink, color, and gold on paper
Freer Gallery of Art, Gift of Charles Lang Freer, F1902.92