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Myriad Chinese Boys

Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
18th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Six-panel folding screen; ink, color, and gold on gilded paper
Dimensions:
Image: 49 x 111 1/2 in. (124.5 x 283.2 cm)
Classification:
Screens
Credit Line:
Gift of Susan Dillon, 2004
Accession Number:
2004.505
Not on view
A sumptuous estate, including a bridge and pavilion over a lake, is set off by a shimmering gilded background and golden clouds and enlivened by cavorting children. The conventional motif of One Hundred Children has obvious auspicious connotations in the Chinese tradition. Here, the ancient subject is combined with the moralizing theme of the Four Gentlemanly Accomplishments (calligraphy, painting, music, and the game of go), which engage the children. One Hundred Children became one of the most popular themes among the Kano painters, the official artists who worked for the shoguns and their vassals during the Edo period. The anonymous painter of this screen seems to have based it on a readily available model. The dry, mannered execution of the landscape elements points to a date in the eighteenth century for this work.
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