Important Cultural Property
By Ogata Kōrin
Edo period/18th century
Tokyo National Museum
Ogata Korin (1658 – 1716) is a Japanese-style painter who was a popular artist from the early to mid-Edo period. The accompanying document says that he drew an autumn plant pattern on this kosode (kimono with small wrist openings) for the wife of a lumber merchant, Fuyugiya, in Fukagawa, Edo.
The kosode in white twill weave may have been specially woven for Korin to draw a pattern on it. Autumn plants are represented in indigo blue and sumi gradations, which add depth to the plants: balloon flowers and chrysanthemums in bunches are drawn directly on the kosode as if it were a vertically long canvas. Gold paint and yellow and red gradations add color to the kosode. The simplified balloon flowers and chrysanthemum leaves drawn with sumi remind us of his unique decorative design on the Autumn Plant Screen he created at the time. The characteristic of using the cold colors like indigo blue and black instead of using the real colors of the plants suggests the "Korin pattern" that became a popular motif for kosode around the Kyoho era (1716 – 1736). Since this is the only pattern that Korin designed for kosode, some may think that he drew this one just for fun. However, enough space is left around the waist so that obi, when tied, will not hide the autumn plant pattern. Such attention may reflect his background as the second son of Kariganeya, a kimono shop in Kyoto. Although there exists another kosode that has the same autumn plant pattern (MOA Museum of Art, Shizuoka), the reason why there are two kosodes that have the same pattern is unknown.