Incense Wrapper Decorated with White Plum Blossoms

By Ogata Korin



Artist By Ogata Korin
Period Edo period, 18th century
Materials and techniques Hanging scroll, colour and gold leaf on silk
Size 33.3×24.2


This painting was originally the lining of a silk wrapper which contained aromatic woodchips. There are several extant incense wrappers attributed to Korin, which are decorated with designs of grasses and flowers or cranes. This one features a plum tree, with blossoms drawn in the stylized five-petaled pattern peculiar to Korin.
An incense wrapper is folded from all four sides, so that when opened, the creases divide it into nine sections. Since the chips are placed in the center square, Korin has carefully avoided painting in that section. A branch extending upward from an unseen tree splits off into two smaller branches blooming with beautiful white flowers. The painting, in perfect harmony with the background of gold, suggests a scene of a beautiful spring day.