Famous Places in Kyoto (Left : Arashiyama), by Maruyama Okyo

  • Edo period
  • Kansei 1 (1789)
  • Pair of 6-panel screens, gold and color on paper
  • H-155.4 W-336
    Transmitted by the Mitsui clan
Catalogue Entry

This screen would have been the left screen of a pair and shows a bird's eye view of Arashiyama in spring. This screen would have been paired with a right screen showing the Higashiyama area, centered around Yasaka Shrine. Maruyama Okyo (1733‐1795) was a painter of the mid‐Edo period who was born in Tamba Ano village, on the outskirts of present‐day Kameoka city in Kyoto prefecture. Okyo came to Kyoto where he studied under the Kano school artist Ishida Yutei. Okyo went on to create his own distinctive painting style which was a fusion of Chinese realist painting techniques with decorative elements. This style, which became known as the Maruyama style, was continued by his followers through the succeeding Meiji period. The scene here from the Hozu River area is depicted with a moving viewpoint and an examination of the details of this scene shows that they are less than realistic. But more than such theoretical impressions, the viewer mainly has a charming sense of the spring scene at Arashiyama, glimpsed between clouds of gold mist. This painting with its bright, open character shows Okyo's philosophy regarding the importance of earnestly conveying the truth of something, in a forthright manner, revealing its heaven‐made beauty, not simply its realistic form.