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Yamamoto Sodo (first half 19th century)

“Morning Glories”

Hanging scroll, ink and color on silk
101.4 x 35.9 cm. (40 x 14 1/8 in.)

Inscription: “Koko Sodo.”

Artist’s seal:

(see write up below)

Three lovely blossoms are set off by autumn grasses, pinks, and a cricket. The forms are organized in a tight composition that rises along the ascending diagonal axis of the picture, a dynamic arrangement that creates pleasing visual tension. The technique is exceptional and identities the artist as a very accomplished member of the Rimpa school of Japanese painting.

Yamamoto Sodo is listed in the Koga Biko (1904) as living in Shitaya Kanasugi. Although his dates of birth and death are not recorded, he was a disciple of Sakai Hoitsu (1761-1828), founder of the Edo Rimpa school (see cat. 28), and father of Sakai Doitsu (1845-1913), and would thus seem to have been active during the first half of the 19th century. A painting of “Mount Fujii and Autumn Flowers” in the Brooklyn Museum of Art (fig. 1) was painted jointly by Suzuki Kiitsu (1796-1858), another pupil of Hoitsu, and Sodo, with the latter artist painting the flowers in a manner quite close to that of the present painting, as is his signature in the lower right.


Fig. 1. Suzuki Kiitsu and Yamamoto Sodo: “Mount Fuii and Autumn Flowers,” after Yasushi Murashige et. al.: Rimpa Painting, Kyoto 1992, vol. 3, pl. 43.

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