thick green grasses with golden clouds and silver in background; scattered red and blue flowers, white flowers, lilies in foreground

Musashi Plains [left of a pair], Second quarter 17th century

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Below golden clouds, a silver moon sinks into an autumn meadow. A brook, glowing gold in the moonlight, trickles in and meanders through a profusion of grasses and flowers. Deep blue and white bellflowers, asters, chrysanthemums, even an orange lily left over from summer, punctuate a sea of swaying Miscanthus grass. The long, narrow composition of this pair of screens, shorter than usual height but extending over twelve feet, emphasizes the grassland’s vastness.

An old Japanese folk song helps identify this extraordinary place: “The Musashi plains / have no mountain / into which the moon may set—/ it rises from the grass and sets in the grass.” Although today the Musashi Plains north of Tokyo have disappeared beneath a sea of roads and apartment buildings, four hundred years ago they were a magical flatland of grasses and flowers, an uncommon sight in a country dominated by mountains.

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Details
Title
Musashi Plains [left of a pair]
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2015.79.92.1
Provenance
Ogino Museum of Art, Kurashiki, Okayama (in 1991); Leighton R. Longhi (until 2009); Mary Burke (2009-2015)
Catalogue Raisonne
Murase, Art through a Lifetime, no. 211
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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thick green grasses with golden clouds and silver in background; scattered red and blue flowers, white flowers, lilies in foreground