7323/24 A pair six-fold paper screens painted in ink and colour on a gold ground with a sakura (cherry) tree in full blossom amongst rocks and clouds over of a flowing river on each screen
Japan 18th century Edo period
Dimensions: H. 48¾” x W. 111½” (123.5cm x 283cm) each
n.b There are repairs along some of the hinge areas. There are also some old tears (now repaired) and other small areas of repair throughout the screens commensurate with age.
The natural beauty of the individual flowers, the fragility of the blossoms under the blue spring skies, threatened by showers and gusts of wind, have given cherry blossom a special place in the hearts of the Japanese from the latter part of the 8th century, when the aristocracy began to recognise and register their beauty. The Emperor Juto (690-697) is known to have taken parties to view the blossoms on Mount Yoshino. Viewing parties (hanami) became more and more popular and elegant as the courts became more sophisticated. Nowadays they are enjoyed by absolutely everyone.