About This Project

Scarlet Peonies


This is a scene taken from the old Sugagawa garden of giant peonies in Michinoku. I was thrilled to find more than a dozen beautiful peony plants, which were so large that one couldn’t call them merely shrubs. They were said to have 200 flowers per shrub. I kept going back there to draw them around 1937 – 39. To make the entire piece lighter, I made the artwork on six equally divided screens. I used high-quality linen sheets stretched onto frames made of Japanese cypress. Then I coated the canvas with the best-quality special Urushi in order to make Urushi canvases. I didn’t treat them with undercoating, so the canvases were simply filled with saishitsu as I progressed through the project. I continued to work on the project in my spare time during and after World War II, and finally completed them in 1955. However, there were long periods of time in which I didn’t work on them.

Urushi Artwork, set of six

68 1/8 x 128 1/2 in.

Laquer, Nature