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Full Enlargement

Early Modern Painting

Water Fowl in the Lotus Pond

  • by Tawaraya Sotatsu
  • Hanging scroll
  • Ink on paper
  • 116.0 X 0.0 cm
  • Edo Period (Early-17th Century)
  • National Treasure
  • AK 261

While this subject has several Chinese precedents in Sung and Yuan, colored paintings, Sotatsu painted these two grebes and two lotus flowers using only black ink, which gives the work a clean, simple feeling. Still, the artist exquisitely expresses the contrast between the blooming, white lotus and its ripening fruit. Contrast is also created between the two birds, one of which swims ahead with a half-open, upturned bill as if in search of new bait, while the other quietly floats on.

Although this painting has no signature -- only a red "Inen" seal in the lower-left corner -- it represents the technical perfection of Sotatsu's ink painting.

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