Birds and Flowers of Autumn and Winter

Kano Chikanobu Japanese

Not on view

The paintings on this screen are shaped like a dansen (rigid Japanese hand fan) and give viewers the impression of looking through two windows to view picturesque outdoor scenes. The application of gold leaf to the reverse side of the silk lends the paintings a subtle glow and a sense of depth and weight. The chrysanthemum and cotton rose on the right represent autumn, and on the left, the sasanqua, narcissus, and withered reeds symbolize winter.

Another screen, featuring spring and summer scenes in a similar format but with silver instead of gold-leaf framing, once accompanied this one but is now in a private American collection. Kano Chikanobu, the leading Kano-school painter in eighteenth-century Edo, was particularly accomplished in bird-and-flower compositions.

Birds and Flowers of Autumn and Winter, Kano Chikanobu (Japanese, 1660–1728), Six-panel folding screen; ink and color on silk, Japan

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