flat gold bridge at right; stylized brown waves on water; water wheel at left; weeping willows at ULC and LRC

Willow Bridge and Water Wheel (Uji Bridge) [left of a pair], second half 16th century

Unknown artist, expand_more
Not on Viewexpand_more

Clouds and mist—rendered variously in gold foil, gold paint, powdered gold, and cut gold—have just parted, revealing the great span of a golden bridge but still masking its ends. At left a waterwheel turns in the river, its waves painted in silver (now tarnished to lustrous gray). Crossing this otherworldly bridge, one experiences a subtle seasonal change: the leaves of the twisting silver willows shift from the delicate leaves of mid-spring to mature leaves of late summer. The screens allude to the famous bridge over the Uji River near Kyoto, which inspired Japanese poets soon after it was built in the 600s. Paintings of the Uji Bridge decorated palaces by the 900s and remained popular for the next thousand years. With their dramatic vantage point, bold design, and shimmering metallic pigments, these luminous screens—typical of the dynamism and opulence of Momoyama-period art—represent the peak of that development.

Details
Title
Willow Bridge and Water Wheel (Uji Bridge) [left of a pair]
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2004.178.1
Curator Approved

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flat gold bridge at right; stylized brown waves on water; water wheel at left; weeping willows at ULC and LRC