Hawk Grasping a Small Bird

Tsubaki Chinzan Japanese

Not on view

Tsubaki Chinzan's versatility as a painter in the cultivated nanga style and as a portraitist of nature is underlined in this bold composition in which the absence of surrounding detail forces us to observe closely the hawk with its captured prey. Here is the world of flux—a natural order, where the supremacy of this proud hawk is determined by its swift wing, not unlike the prowess of the samurai, the class to which Chinzan belonged. The hawk alights on the sharply defined bamboo fronds, whose energized lines echo the shape of the bird's talons. The sharpness of the hawk's eye and the grasping motion of the protruding bamboo leaves above its head fracture the empty space in which the viewer may contemplate the other bird's uncertain fate.

Hawk Grasping a Small Bird, Tsubaki Chinzan (Japanese, 1801–1854), Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper, Japan

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