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In this Japanese picture, a Chinese beauty, regal in pose and delicate in features, sits on the edge of a dais. The painting is rich in detail, from her robes, hair ornaments, and other accoutrements down to the decorative designs on the furniture.
Closely tied to the imperial court, the fortunes of the Tosa school declined with that of its primary patrons, the Kyoto court aristocracy, and by the late 1500s the school had fallen into obscurity. Mitsuoki revived the school by adopting elements from both Chinese painting and from a rival Japanese school, the Kano. The Chinese subject matter here was part of the Kano repertory, but Mitsuoki’s Tosa elements are seen in the rich use of color and the flat, decorative composition.
Purchased by the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2000.