“Fourth Month” from Fujiwara no Teika’s “Birds and Flowers of the Twelve Months”
Ogata Kenzan (Japanese, 1663–1743)
Edo period (1615–1868)
Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper
Image: 6 5/16 x 8 15/16 in. (16 x 22.7 cm)
Overall with mounting: 43 1/4 x 19 in. (109.9 x 48.3 cm)
Overall with knobs: 43 1/4 x 20 5/8 in. (109.9 x 52.4 cm)
The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975
Not on view
Kenzan, brother of the painter and designer Ogata Kŏrin (1658–1716), is best known as a potter but was also a gifted painter and calligrapher. This small painting was separated from a group of twelve representing plants and animals symbolic of the twelve months, each inscribed with two poems. The poems were taken from the Shǔigusŏ, a collection of verse by the influential poet and calligrapher Fujiwara Teika (1162–1241). The poems from the fourth month refer to unohana (deutzia flowers) and to the hototogisu, a bird related to the cuckoo. They read:
Shirotae no koromo hosu chō natsu no kite kakine mo tawa ni sakeru u no hana
Hototogisu Shinobu no sato ni sato nare yo mada u no hana no tsuki matsu goro
Robes of white cloth should be aired out, they say, just when summer arrives and deutzia flowers in bloom cause the hedge to droop.
In the village of Shinobu where the cuckoo dwells, its cry is now heard, while we await next month when deutzia flowers bloom.
Marking: Seal: Tōzen
[ Harry G. C. Packard , Tokyo, until 1975; donated and sold to MMA].
New York. Japan Society Gallery. "Japanese Calligraphy from Western Collections," October 4, 1984–January 6, 1985.
Kansas City. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. "Japanese Calligraphy from Western Collections," February 15, 1985–March 31, 1985.
Seattle Art Museum. "Japanese Calligraphy from Western Collections," May 9, 1985–July 14, 1985.
New Haven. Yale University Art Gallery. "Word in Flower: The Visualization of Classical Literature in 17th Century Japan," September 22, 1989–November 12, 1989.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Kyūbi no Kitsune: Legends of the Nine-Tailed Fox," 1994.
Chiba City Museum of Art. "Celebrated Four Seasons: An Aspect of Japanese Paintings from the 16th to 19th Centuries," April 27, 1996–June 9, 1996.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Blossoms of Many Colors: A Selection from the Permanent Collection of Japanese Art," March 21, 2000–August 9, 2000.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Enlightening Pursuits," February 28, 2001–August 5, 2001.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sense of Place: Landscape in Japanese Art," May 8, 2002–September 8, 2002.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Birds, Flowers, and Buddhist Paradise Imagery in Japanese Art," February 14, 2004–June 13, 2004.
Shigariki. Miho Museum. "Kenzan: A World of Quietly Refined Elegance," September 1, 2004–December 15, 2004.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sensitivity to the Seasons: Spring and Summer," December 17, 2005–June 4, 2006.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Flowing Streams: Scenes from Japanese Arts and Life," December 21, 2006–June 3, 2007.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Five Thousand Years of Japanese Art: Treasures from the Packard Collection," December 17, 2009–June 10, 2010.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Designing Nature: The Rinpa Aesthetic in Japanese Art," May 26, 2012–January 13, 2013.
Artist: Ogata Kenzan (Japanese, 1663–1743)Date: ca. 1705Medium: Cylindrical, the flat cover inset; hard, light clay; bluish-gray glaze, streaked showing white underglaze; snowy landscape with figures in boat modeled in white and brown slip, in low relief; meander borders in white and blue (Tokyo ware)Accession: 36.120.634a, bOn view in:Not on view
Artist: Ogata Kenzan (Japanese, 1663–1743)Date: ca. 1740Medium: Oblong; dark brown clay; moulded frame and shaped supports glazed black; both faces of screen with ivory glaze, decorated with landscapes in black (Tokyo ware)Accession: 36.120.655On view in:Not on view