Cypress Trees

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Cypress Trees screen
Kano Eitoku - Cypress Trees.jpg
Artist Kanō Eitoku
Year 16th–17th century
Type Colour on paper with gold leaf
Dimensions 170.3 cm × 460.5 cm (67.0 in × 181.3 in)
Location Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan
Owner National Treasures of Japan

Cypress Trees (檜図, hinoki-zu) is a Kanō-school byōbu or folding screen attributed to the Japanese painter Kanō Eitoku (1543–1590), one of the most prominent patriarchs of the Kanō school of Japanese painting. The painting dates to the Azuchi–Momoyama period (1573–1615). Now in Tokyo National Museum, it has been designated a National Treasure.[1][2]


This Japanese folding screen was made from several joined panels. Screens were used to separate interiors and enclose private spaces, among other uses. This work is considered a representative work Eitoku. The painting is a polychrome-and-gold screen that depicts a cypress tree against the backdrop of gold-leafed clouds, and surrounded by the dark blue waters of a pond. The painting stretches across two four-panel folding screens from circa 1590; it is made of paper covered with gold leaf, depicting a cypress tree, a symbol of longevity in Japan.[3][4]


Commonly attributed to Kanō Eitoku (1543–1590), there is an other theory based on a reference to a commission in The Diary of Prince Toshihito (智仁観王日記) that the painting was instead made by Eitoku's younger brother Kanō Sōshū (狩野宗秀).[2] The eight panels originally took the form of four painted shōji, later remounted, which helps account for some of the discontinuities in the image.[2][5] After the Meiji Restoration the paintings passed from the Katsura-no-miya to the Imperial Household and thence to the nation.[2]

See also


  1. ^ 紙本金地著色桧図〈/八曲屏風〉 [Cypress Trees, colour on paper with gold ground (eight-panel byōbu)] (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d 国宝 [National Treasures of Japan] (in Japanese and English). 6. The Mainichi Newspapers. 1967. p. 42.
  3. ^ 紙本金地著色桧図〈/八曲屏風〉 [Cypress Trees, colour on paper with gold ground (eight-panel byōbu)] (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  4. ^ "The Eyes of Power: Art and Early Tokugawa Authority". Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  5. ^ "Cypress Trees screen". National Institutes for Cultural Heritage. Retrieved 21 August 2015.

External links

  • Entry at National Treasures & Important Cultural Properties of National Museums, Japan
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