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Japanese Decorative 4 Panel Screen

Reviewing: ? Japanese 4 Panel Floor Screen Wood/Paper/Silk  |  Rating:
lexxia By lexxia on
Badge: Advisor | Level: 20 | Hobbies & Crafts Expertise:
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I haven't researched this piece in detail but when I purchased it approx. 5 years ago the gentleman told me that it was "very old". His mother had owned this screen and he had inherited it from her. She had the piece while he was growing up (the 1950's). He couldn't tell me where she had obtained it or any history it might have but he indicated It had been in storage for over 15 years upon his acquiring it. At that rate the screen would be close to 60 years of age today.

This is a Japanese painted artwork on paper surrounded by gold silk with wooden frame that is accented by what appears to be brass or tarnished gold accented corner brackets on each of the four corners of the frame. The paper on which the painting resides is quite brittle and attests to the fact that it is reasonably aged. I haven't gotten this piece appraised yet but after viewing others, I think perhaps I should as indications would place this piece around the early 20th century at the latest. Except for a few areas between the joining of the two left side panels, this screen is in relatively good condition for its estimated age.

My family of course thinks I'm a little touched to be keeping it but I love the piece for what it represents - a unique touch of beautiful Japanese artwork that regardless of age or authenticity, is still a very prized possession of mine.

While investigating it for this review I came across several sites that had pieces quite similar to this one and all were ranging in age from the 18th and 19th century. One site also does repairs to these types of screens which are called "Byobu" screens or "protection from the wind". Although today most Byobu screens are manufactured with less consideration to quality and more towards mass production, the screens of the past were handmade and attention to detail was evident. This screen doesn't have the earmarks of mass production and it is definitely not shoddily made.

The main panels of the screen appears to have been painted onto a rice paper which may have been stained with tea to provide a more golden-brownish hue to it. Each panel is individually drawn to depict a particular scene that together creates a co-hesive scene. The artwork is surrounded by a golden silk patterned material and the wood frame appears to be a cherry finish.

Whether a collectible for certain with any value to it I'll only know for sure once it is reviewed by someone who knows more about these than I do - for now, I'll settle for it being a cherished collectible that is my "protection from the wind".