unsigned; thick field of barley painted against a gold leaf background

Barley Field, early 17th century

Not on Viewexpand_more

A sea of barley with green stalks and white spikes fills this screen. The golden clouds, a typical feature of Japanese screens, meets the edge of the field along a curved line, giving the impression that the heads of barley are touching the sky. In Japan, farmers paired barley and rice for multiple cropping. After the rice was harvested in autumn, they grew barley in the same fields and reaped them in the early summer in preparation for the rice planting to begin the cycle again.

Because the spikes here are white while the stalks are green, the barley depicted are likely in the process of maturing, representing early summer. In Japanese painting, plants often indicated a season or specific time of year.

Barley Field
Accession Number
Catalogue Raisonne
Murase, Art through a Lifetime, no. 213
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.

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

Zoom in on the left to the detail you'd like to save. Click 'Save detail' and wait until the image updates. Right click the image to 'save image as' or copy link, or click the image to open in a new tab.

unsigned; thick field of barley painted against a gold leaf background