Carp and Turtles
Maruyama Ōkyo, Carp and Turtles, 1770/1795, two-panel screen; ink, light color, and gold wash on silk, Museum Purchase: Margery Hoffman Smith Fund and Asian Art Acquisition Fund, with additional funds provided by friends of the Museum, public domain, 1997.1
This work is not currently on view.
Carp and Turtles
Japan: Edo period (1615-1868)
two-panel screen; ink, light color, and gold wash on silk
- Dimensions (H x W x D)
30 in x 76 in
- Inscriptions & Markings
signature: Maruyama Ókyo
signature: signed:Miyako (no) Ókyo; 2 seals
- Collection Area
- Object Type
- Credit Line
Museum Purchase: Margery Hoffman Smith Fund and Asian Art Acquisition Fund, with additional funds provided by friends of the Museum
- Accession Number
Maruyama Ōkyo is one of the giants of Edo-period painting. The son of an impoverished farmer, he was largely self-taught, but he apparently had access to Chinese painting and imported prints with Western perspective. He was one of the first Japanese painters to make extensive sketches from nature, a practice his students emulated.
Ōkyo’s mature style tempers the realism of close observation with a flair for bold compositions. He became spectacularly successful, winning major commissions from the imperial household as well as Kyoto’s leading merchant families. Ōkyo’s followers, known as the shasei (drawing from life) school, would dominate Kyoto painting circles well into the twentieth century.
Small, two-panel folding screens such as this one were often used in the tea ceremony. It is a quiet work, appropriate for an intimate space. There is a hint of humor as well, in the contrast between the fat carp, scanning the pond bed for food, and the tiny, freely floating turtles.