Quail, Sparrows, and Millet


Not on view

A flock of quails and pair of sparrows gather around stalks of millet, their heads heavy with ripe seed on an autumn day. The theme of quails and autumn grasses was widely depicted in China during the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279), most often by painters in attendance at the imperial court. Many works on the theme were brought to Japan and entered the collections of Buddhist temples, while a select few entered prestigious private collections such as that of the Ashikaga family, who ruled Japan as military dictators during the Muromachi period. These works served as important models for later Japanese artists. The present example reflects the unidentified Japanese painter’s familiarity with these earlier Chinese works.

Quail, Sparrows, and Millet, Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk, Japan

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