Hamada Taiji (1916-2010) | River Landscape | Japanese folding screen painting



A small Japanese folding screen by the artist Hamada Taiji (1916-2010).

The screen dates to the second half of the 20th century.


Screen – H. 29” x W. 53” (75 cm x 135 cm)


A window-like view of a rocky river in summer fills the screen to its edges. In the immediate foreground three rocks jut clear of the flowing river and lead the eye to the colourful, uncovered rocks of the riverbank. The flowing river similarly draws the viewer from bottom to top where deeper waters give way to shallow edges. The light strikes the water directly, playing upon its transparency and exposing submerged rocks. The changeable hues of the river and its ceaseless movement contrast strongly against the rocks of the bank with their firmly delineated outlines. Thick application of pigments on paper have created a tactile surface, the artist alternating brush technique significantly to distinguish that which is above or below the water line. Cool tones speckled with blocks of warm, saturated colours against the neutral green shades of the river provide a similarly strong visual contrast, though their complimentary nature limits tension.

Given the slightly unusual dimensions of the folding screen it is possible that it was painted for private commission. Japanese screens serve as backdrops for a variety of purposes, this one being closest in size to a tea-ceremony screen.

Hamada Taiji (1916-2010) had a long and illustrious career throughout which he was particularly well-known for his beautiful, clear colours. He originally studied under Ito Shinsui before coming under the strong influence of Hashimoto Meiji. He was a regular exhibitor with the national painting organisations throughout the 1940’s, 50’s and beyond. At the 1975 Nitten exhibition he won the coveted Prime Minister of Japan prize. In 1980 we was awarded The Japan Art Academy prize and became a member of the Academy in 1989. He was a long term advisor to the Nitten organisation, sat as judge of the annual Nitten exhibition on 13 occasions and eventually assumed presidency of the prestigious group.