十二ヶ月花鳥図書画挿絵貼屏風 Birds and Flowers of the Twelve Months with Chinese Calligraphy
Muromachi period (1392–1573)
16th century; sheets of poetry, one dated 1553
Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink and color and gold leaf on paper
Image (each screen): 60 11/16 x 139 1/8 in. (154.1 x 353.4 cm)
Gift of Mrs. P. H. B. Frelinghuysen, 1962
Not on view
Although traditionally it was common to paint entire scenes directly onto folding screens, alternatively, an allover design could be painted on the panels, to which small fans or albums of painting or calligraphy would then be attached. This set of screens is unusual in that the background design was painted on the screen with the knowledge that large paintings would be placed on top; that is, the screens were custom-made to accommodate these skillful bird-and-flower paintings, no doubt created by a Kano atelier artist of the late sixteenth century. Each panel of this pair of screens contains both a painted scene in a fan-shaped cartouche and a sheet of calligraphy that has been cut in half to replicate the squarish proportions of Japanese shikishi (square poem cards). The twelve scenes of birds and flowers present a progression of the characteristic flora and fauna of the four seasons. The sheets of poetry contain verses on the theme of plums in winter, which were composed and inscribed by six Chinese scholars, including Huang Yuanxu, who dated his piece to autumn 1553.
Signature: Seals on poems
Inscription: Sticker on .2): no. 86,2), Sōtan/Birds-Flowers Sticker on .3): no. 86,2), by Oguri Sōtan/1450
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Birds, Flowers, and Buddhist Paradise Imagery in Japanese Art," February 14, 2004–June 13, 2004.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Mighty Kano School: Orthodoxy and Iconoclasm," December 18, 2004–June 5, 2005.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," July 2, 2005–November 29, 2005.
Tokyo. Suntory Museum. "Biombo: Japan's Gift of Folding Screens to the West," September 1, 2007–October 21, 2007.
Osaka Municipal Museum of Art. "Biombo: Japan's Gift of Folding Screens to the West," October 30, 2007–December 16, 2007.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Poetry and Travel in Japanese Art," December 18, 2008–May 31, 2009.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Birds in the Art of Japan," February 2, 2013–July 28, 2013.