Birds and Flowers

Sō Shiseki Japanese

Not on view

Sō Shiseki, a leading painter of the Nagasaki school in Edo (modern Tokyo) went to Nagasaki to study with Song Ziyuan, a Chinese artist who taught painting in that port city. Sō also studied with another Chinese painter, Shen Nanpin (Shen Quan, 1682–1758), who established the Nagasaki school, characterized by brightly colored, realistic images of birds and flowers, in the early 1730s. After returning to Edo (modern Tokyo), Sō Shiseki fostered the Nagasaki school there, teaching a blend of Chinese and Western realism to his students, including his son, Sō Shizan, whose work is also shown in this gallery.

The composition features a pair of birds perched on a long branch that stretches diagonally across the scroll. The birds are intimately connected: one looks down, the other up. Both birds and flowers are meticulously and vividly rendered in color, exemplars of the Nagasaki-school style.

Birds and Flowers, Sō Shiseki (Japanese, 1715–1786), Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk, Japan

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