Plum Tree and Waterfowl

Attributed to Kano Masanobu 狩野正信 Japanese

Not on view

A pair of water birds glide beneath the fragile branches of a plum tree in this work bearing the seals of Kano Masanobu, founder of the Kano school of painting, which dominated mainstream Japanese painting for four centuries. The plum tree’s delicate white blossoms and a tangle of drying reeds in the lower left corner are indicative of late winter. As with many other early Kano-school paintings in the bird-and-flower genre, each of the motifs is drawn with black ink outlines, while ink washes and accents are used to suggest the texture of the tree’s bark, to which malachite green lichens cling. The birds’ downy bodies are described with a meticulous application of shell white (gofun), the same pigment used for the petals of the plum blossoms.

Plum Tree and Waterfowl, Attributed to Kano Masanobu 狩野正信 (Japanese, ca. 1434–ca. 1530), Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper, Japan

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