Image: 17 11/16 x 23 1/4 in. (45 x 59 cm)
Overall with knobs: 57 1/2 x 31 9/16 in. (146 x 80.2 cm)
Overall with mounting: 57 1/2 × 29 5/16 in. (146 × 74.5 cm)
Not on view
A crane gracefully crosses the sky before the glowing red orb of the rising sun on New Year’s Day. An aged pine, pruned as carefully as a bonsai tree, complements the symbolic association of cranes with longevity. A painting of this sort would have been displayed in an alcove at the beginning of spring, which coincided with the first day of the first month of the lunar calendar.
The artist Suzuki Kiitsu was the top pupil of Sakai Hōitsu (1761–1828) and together with his master helped revive the style of painting associated with Tawaraya Sōtatsu, active in the early seventeenth century, and Ogata Kōrin (1658–1716) of a century later. In modern times, all of these artists came to be grouped under the rubric of Rinpa, which literally means the “school of Kōrin.” This painting, with its stylized and abstracted representation of a natural scene using bright pigments and an application of gold dust, encapsulates the Rinpa aesthetic. Also characteristic of this style is the rendering of the tree trunk with the tarashikomi (“dripping in”) technique, by which diluted pigment or ink was applied to a still-damp painted surface.