13m 56s

Cypress Trees by Kano Eitoku (Hinokizu byobu)

The Magic of Japanese Masterpieces

Broadcast on November 9, 2017 Available until March 31, 2029

The cypress tree was painted to fill the 1m 70cm high, 4m 60cm screen. Almost the entire background is covered with gold foil, which highlights the writhing shape of the giant tree. This work was painted in the latter half of the 16th century -- a period during which great warlords rose after years of civil war to reunify Japan. Kano Eitoku, the artist, was beloved by the mighty. He was heir to the artistic style of his grandfather -- the man who fused Chinese traditional ink painting with the Japanese tradition of painting with a range of colors -- and he painted vigorous and magnificent pieces that the great military leaders adored. This particular work was painted on the sliding paper doors of a residence of a member of an Imperial family but later reframed as a folding screen. Most of Eitoku’s works were lost in the flames of war but this painting serves as a memory of that gorgeous aesthetic.


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