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. Along with chysanthemums, the depiction of other autumn flowers, such as bush clover (hagi) and Chinese bellflowers (kikyō), creates a seasonal setting 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.
Signature: Tosa Shogen Mitsuoki hitsu; Seal: Mitsuoki no in
Howard Mansfield , New York (until 1936; sold to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Seasonal Pleasures in Japanese Art (Part One)," October 12, 1995–April 28, 1996.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sensitivity to the Seasons: Autumn and Winter," June 22, 2006–September 10, 2006.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sensitivity to the Seasons: Summer and Autumn in Japanese Art," June 24, 2011–October 23, 2011.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Birds in the Art of Japan," February 2, 2013–July 28, 2013.