Sparrow and Bamboo

Sakai Hōitsu Japanese
Calligraphy by Kameda Bōsai Japanese

Not on view

In this narrow composition a sparrow balances on a branchlet of bamboo; the silvery tones of the primary stalk contrast with the dark ink of its leaves and joints. Sakai Hōitsu is best known for his revival of the art of Rinpa-school master Ogata Kōrin (1658–1716) and for his polychrome paintings in the Rinpa style. He was also a master of ink, however, as this lively collaborative work indicates.

Kameda Bōsai, a Confucian scholar, inscribed colophons on paintings by several important artists of his day, including Hōitsu and his younger follower Suzuki Kiitsu (1799–1858). Here, his cursive calligraphy appears just below Hōitsu’s perching sparrow. Bōsai often claimed to work while intoxicated, which may account for the hasty but animated quality of his brushwork.

Sparrow and Bamboo, Sakai Hōitsu (Japanese, 1761–1828), Hanging scroll; ink on paper, Japan

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.