Autumn and Winter Flowers and Birds

Kano Chikanobu (Japanese, 1660–1728)
Edo period (1615–1868)
17th–18th century
Six-panel folding screen; ink and color on silk
Image: 61 1/8 x 139 3/4 in. (155.3 x 355 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Richard W. Courts, in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas J. Watson, 1966
Accession Number:
Not on view
On this charming screen, the peculiar fan shape known as a dansen serves as a frame for the two images and gives the viewer the impression of looking through two picturesque windows. The application of gold leaf to the reverse side of the silk lends the painting a subtle glow and a sense of depth and weight. The chrysanthemum and cotton rose on the right represent autumn, while on the left, the sasanqua, narcissus, and withered reeds symbolize winter. Another screen, with spring and summer scenes, probably once accompanied this one. Kano Chikanobu, the leading Kano-school painter in eighteenth-century Edo, was particularly accomplished in bird-and-flower genre works.
Signature: Seals: two

Inscription: Center left [not identical to Chikanobu's signatures in Sawada, Akira Nippon Gakwa Jiten (dictionary of Japanese painters) Tokyo, 1927, signatures section pp. 456-59]
Richard W. Courts , Atlanta, GA (until 1966; donated to MMA)
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. "Animals, Birds, Insects, and Marine Life in Japanese Art," June 26, 2008–November 30, 2008.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Birds in the Art of Japan," February 2, 2013–July 28, 2013.