Weasel Among the Wild Strawberries
c. 1928, by Katayama Bokuyo was painted on a folding screen in two panels, rendered in sumi ink, gofun or clam shell gesso and mineral pigments. It presents a scene from the margins of a deep forest glade, focusing on a weasel pausing amid wild strawberries. The tall verticals of hinoki or Japanese cypress trunks pace across the screen, their bark cracked and weathered. Below, rich undergrowth textures the forest floor. Horizontal slivers of brown earth dash around the weasel, balanced by two lines of crimson wild strawberries in dotted counterpoint.
Katayama Bokuyo was born in Hiroshima. He studied painting under Tsutaya Ryuko. In 1927, he was first accepted into the annual Imperial art exhibitions where his entry took the tokusen
or grand prize. The next year he exhibited this painting, Mori or Forest, at the 9th Teiten, where it earned him mukansa
or non-vetted status. Thereafter he exhibited every year through 1931. He died in Hiroshima at the young age of 37 in 1937.
This painting is now in the collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.