A very special and unique Japanese Screen-
Furosaki- Byobi

The  dimensions of this four fold Furosaki- Byobi screen are as follows:
Each fold
: 120cms tall x 40cms wide
Full size of screen: 120cms height x176cms wide-  48 inches tall x 70 inches wide

Click small picture for a larger image

 EURO 5,600 (GBP 4880 and USD 7,700) -currency rates at time of sale) excluding shipment costs-listed below

Signed on both sides by the artist, Sou Sensei. The panels below the screen refer to the story of the four Gentlemen

The Four Friends

Traditional Chinese painting is based on the Four Friends - or the Four Gentlemen as they are sometimes called because the scholars who founded the literary style respected and identified with their characteristics.

Plum Blossom

The hardy winter flower and the first to come into bloom, year after year, symbolising constancy in love. The contortions of the wild plum resemble a fierce dragon and when it is cultivated, the Chinese often prune it to accentuate this image.


The fragrant wild orchid that grows beside water deep in the woodland is the epitome of femininity and serene beauty in the shadows of obscurity. It was seen as the scholar's sweetheart, the curving spikes of flowers symbolising a modest maiden washing her hair.


The emblem of China that goes on flowering in a blaze of colour long after summer flowers have faded, defying the onset of winter. Its strong bright blooms are seen as a triumph of hope over adversity


Sturdy, upright and vigorous, but with humility. The Chinese symbol often used to represent the joints of the bamboo also means living a virtuous life, and its hollow stems are a reminder that there is always room to acquire more knowledge.


The Four Gentlemen, also called the Four Noble Ones, in Chinese art refers to four plants: the orchid, the bamboo, the chrysanthemum, and the plum blossom. The term compares the four plants to Confucian Junzi, or "gentlemen". They are most typically depicted in traditional ink and wash painting and they belong to the category of bird-and-flower painting in Chinese art.

The Four Gentlemen have been used in Chinese painting since the time of the Chinese Song Dynasty (960–1279) because of their refined beauty, and were later adopted by artists in Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. As they represent the four different seasons (the plum blossom for winter, the orchid for spring, the chrysanthemum for autumn, and the bamboo for summer), the four are used to depict the unfolding of the seasons through the year.

The Four Gentlemen are an important subject matter in learning to paint in the aforementioned Asian traditions, as they embody all the basic brush styles. They are also depicted in Mah-jong tiles.

In Korea the Four Gentlemen were also known as the Four Gracious Plants. Rules differed from the Chinese in certain ways. In particular, the orchid needed to imitate the shape of the eye of a bird or the legs of a mantis. One can find the hidden figure of mantis legs and the eyes of an eagle in the flower.

Related to the Four Gentlemen are the Flowers of the Four Seasons, which consist of the orchid (spring), the lotus (summer), the chrysanthemum (autumn) and the plum blossom (winter). They contain three of the elements of the Four Gentlemen.



Byobu (Folding Screens) are the famous Japanese screens, The word “byobu” in Japanese meant a room divider and these were  used to divide up rooms and make smaller enclosed areas for various reasons such as the Tea Ceremony. The literal translation of Byobu is 'breeze wall' .

Screens were always part of Japanese life in the more affluent family homes and these came to high art starting in the 1500's. By the late 18th century the art of Byobu became used for decoration and it is these very highly painted screens that were immediately bought by foreign travellers and hung on the wall. Using a screen that way possibly defeats the original intention for the screen but in some ways it was what would keep the screen safe and out of harms way.

The Byobu  that are found today have four to six panels and they can be folded to store. The most common size of full height Byobu is 170 cm high and 200 cm wide (60x80 inches). and the half height range from 60 inches to 82 inches wide and around 36 to 48 inches tall. Essentially this is because Japanese will tend to kneel or sit cross leg on the floor and therefore a taller screen would be to overpowering.

There are various types of Byobu. Furosaki-Byobu screens which are created to hide objects from the people sitting on the tatami mats are approximately 36 to 48 inches high, lower than full height Byobu.

The screen shown here is a Furosaki- Byobi. There are also four other plain gold and silver leaf opaque screens panels that are interchangeable with any or all of the individual screens. These are included with this screen. These are used to shield strong light or make a shadow on part of the area in front of the screen. In other cases they are simply used to interchange the panels when required.

Signatures and seals on both sides of the screen:

Signature and seal:

The signature is in grass script which can be hard to read at any time. However what it says is : Sou Sensei, as in like the monk sensei (not the sensei of teacher, but a name) The seals are old and hard to read but Sou Sensei or The Monk Sensei is what we have been able to determine. We understand that Marc Perpitch bought this screen in Japan.



At the local rate in Spain and this can be discussed.

Otherwise these are estimated at E 650   within Europe-

To North America $600 to $800 estimate

Elsewhere I will quote.

The dimensions of the four- fold screen  are: .Each fold: 120cms x 40cms
- Full size of screen: 120cms tall x176cms wide when fully extended- Therefore, when it is folded up (without packing) but with four additional special and original protective gold and silver leaf sheets the total dimension will be approximately:120cms x 40cms x 18cms (width/depth)

Please contact Craig Coussins craig.coussins@btinternet.com

This screen will be shipped from a collection that is held in Spain.

Valuation from the owner of the Gallery that originally sold this screen to the present owner at their Galleries in 1985..

now at



TEL : (33) 01 45 48 53 30  FAX : (33) 01 42 84 04 64

E-mail : manager@galerie-liova.com


Paris, 4/IX/85

I, the undersigned, Marc Perpitch, managing director of the Galerie Liova, certify that this four-fold painted-silk screen is JAPANESE circa 1830.

This screen is very exceptional and very subtle, as it has the peculiarity of being painted on both sides; the transparent but moiré silk simulates water, waves and mist, showing rocks when seen on one side and fish painted on the other.

The highly unusual technique provides the illusion of reality by giving a perfect impression of the water and the coolness of a river, which indicates that this screen is a summer screen.

Replacement value for insurance of thirty-five thousand to fifty thousand francs.

(Euros:5335-7622 / USD 7325-10464/ RUB 222430-317758)

Marc Perpitch

Galerie Liova-Marc Perpitch

Born in an antique dealer family, I grew up in an environment of antiques and inherited my parents' passion for them and their penchant for the antique trade. In due course, after ten years of apprenticeship under the tutelage of my father, I became an antique dealer myself; and in 1992, having acquired 30 years of experience, I was accredited as an evaluator of 16th and 17th century furniture and objects d'art, authorized to assess the authenticity of items of that period. In selecting the antiques of this and other periods which I offer to collectors, I particularly seek original and striking examples reflecting the history of their time and the taste and life-style of the people for whom they were created. Surprising though it may seem, it is still possible to discover such fascinating items dating from past centuries.- Marc Perpitch


Founded about fifty years ago by Marc Perpitch's parents, Antoine and Lucienne Perpitch, the Galerie Perpitch, now Galerie Liova-Marc Perpitch offers discriminating collectors of fine antiques a carefully selected range of 16th and 17th century furniture, tapestries and objets d'art. True art is timeless, and such items, testifying to the craftsmanship of their creators and the taste of their original owners, still have a place in our contemporary environment.

Information from the website of Galerie Liova-Marc Perpitch September 2011


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