A small Japanese Byobu screen measuring approximately 32cm by 18cm (when open).
One of the most extensive forms of Japanese Art is the Japanese folding screen, known as Byobu. Originating first in China during the Han dynasty, the concept found it’s way to Japan in the late Nara Period around the 8th century. The screens progressed from a standing single-panel screen to multi-paneled folding screens and featured paper hinge designs (allowing the screen to be folded in both directions) versus the Chinese metal-style hinges. The format for Byobu is usually six-panel screens, as shown here.
The original function of Japanese Byobu screens was to protect areas from the wind. The folding screens were also used to create smaller spaces within a room, to protect cooking fires, and even to protect one’s head while they sleep. They are also commonly displayed as decorative items, as with this small example.
The visuals on Byobu are often thematic, commonly portraying the four seasons or a larger landscape. Gold leaf is often incorporated into the background of the designs to enhance their vibrancy and statement as a symbol of wealth. This Byobu screen is decorated with a landscape scene accentuated with gold leaf.
The screen comes beautifully packaged in a hand- printed paper box.