Chinese Boys at Play

Studio of Kano Motonobu 狩野元信 Japanese

Not on view

A group of boys have broken into play during their studies. Writing utensils—brushes, brush rests, inkstones, books, scrolls, and silk wrapping cloths—are scattered around the space. A child naps at center while the others form a circle around him, armed with ink-dipped brushes. One boy has already begun making marks on the sleeper’s forehead; two other students inch their wet brushes closer to his face. The boys’ shenanigans extend to all the classmates—the child at lower center has his pants pulled down to expose his backside, marked with a dark smear of ink. At right, a student leaps with joy at the sight of the mischief-making while another cowers behind him. Although currently mounted as a hanging scroll, the pronounced radial creases suggest that this work was originally set on bamboo ribs and used as a folding fan.

Chinese Boys at Play, Studio of Kano Motonobu 狩野元信 (Japanese, 1477–1559), Folding fan mounted as a hanging scroll; ink, color, gold, and mica on paper, Japan

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