Quail Under Autumn Flowers
Edo period (1615–1868)
Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
38 1/2 x 16 3/8 in. (97.8 x 41.6 cm)
The Howard Mansfield Collection, Purchase, Rogers Fund, 1936
Not on view
Elegant in their own right, chrysanthemums often appear together with quails in paintings. The combination was especially favored by Southern Song Chinese artists, as it signified peace and longevity. This depiction of chrysanthemums, enhanced by other autumn flowers, creates a natural environment for the pair of birds. The painting is signed by Tosa Mitsuoki, a master of jewel-like painting in finely executed line and brilliant color. He became an official court artist in 1654 and made concerted efforts to revive the dwindling fortunes of the Tosa school, which had been all but overshadowed by the Kano school since the Muromachi period.