Fukae Roshū, Japanese, 1699–1757; Edo period; Summer Grasses and Flowers, early to mid–18th century; hanging scroll: ink and color
on paper; 40 x 14 1/2 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, The Langenberg Endowment Fund, the William K. Bixby Trust for Asian Art, and
Museum Purchase; and Museum Purchase, by exchange 16:2012
China and Japan feature wide-ranging climatic zones and richly diverse flora. As a result, the Chinese and Japanese senses of beauty developed in tandem with ever-changing natural environments—a theme that is explored in Flowers of the Four Seasons in Chinese and Japanese Art
The major artistic genre known as bird-and-flower painting is represented by Lotuses and Ducks
, a pair of Southern Song hanging scrolls that evoke the lushness of summer. In 18th-century Yangzhou, wealthy merchants wishing to emulate scholarly tastes commissioned literati-style paintings such as Enjoyment of Chrysanthemums
by Hua Yan, which depicts the cultivation of potted chrysanthemums in autumn. Summer Grasses and Flowers
, a newly acquired Japanese painting by Fukae Roshū, shows two flowers and a grass emblematic of the summer: bigleaf hydrangea, morning star lily, and southern crabgrass. Visually anchoring this exhibition is Flowers and Plants of the Four Seasons
, a pair of 18th-century gold-leafed folding screens from the Rinpa school.
The exhibition was curated by Philip Hu, associate curator of Asian art.