《Umi-no-Sachi and Yama-no-Sachi》
1908 Color and gold on silk
Shiko had worked to master historical painting that was true to the facts of history. This painting, based on the story of Umi-no-Sachi and Yama-no-Sachi in the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters, Japan’s earliest compilation of mythology and history), is, however, quite different in style and intent from his earlier work. He has depicted Yama-no-Sachi with his hunting gear, Princess Toyotama, with fishing gear, and her maidservant, but not with the classic history painting approach reproducing a specific scene. What Shiko aimed at with this painting was to cause one to imagine ancient times. The flat planes of color, with no clear outlines, and the background’s dull gleam from the gold leaf that Shiko applied to the underside of the silk on which he was painting help dramatize a world of myth. This change in Shiko’s work was received instruction from Okakura Tenshin the previous year.