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Exhibitions/ Art Object

Waxwings, Cherry Blossoms, and Bamboo by a Stream

Kiyohara Yukinobu (Japanese, 1643–1682)
Edo period (1615–1868)
late 17th century
Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
Image: 39 1/8 x 16 3/8 in. (99.4 x 41.6 cm) Overall with knobs: 23 1/2 in. (59.7 cm) Overall with mounting: 71 7/8 x 21 9/16 in. (182.5 x 54.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Fishbein-Bender Collection, Gift of T. Richard Fishbein and Estelle P. Bender, 2012
Accession Number:
Not on view
Kiyohara Yukinobu enjoyed singular popularity in the early Edo period as a “woman highly accomplished in the arts,” or keishū in Japanese. Her father was one of the principal students of the famed Kano painter Kano Tan’yū, and her mother was Tan’yū ’s niece. She is said to have studied Tan’yū ’s style, and her corpus of paintings includes a number of hanging scrolls with vignettes of the Chinese historical or literary figures that were a staple of the Kano school repertoire. She also appears to have followed Tan’yū ’s lead in subjects executed in the Japanese style of painting, or yamato-e.

Most of her surviving works are in the hanging-scroll format, but at least one folding screen also remains. That painting features studies of a variety of birds—from owls to pheasants—scattered across a dramatic ink-painted landscape. In this painting, Yukinobu focuses on three standard poses of a single type of bird neatly contained within a typical spring scene. Careful observation of the high level of detail in the depiction of the birds is aided by the especially gentle articulation of the rocks in the stream and the trunk of the cherry tree.
Signature: Signed lower right: Kiyohara shi jo Yukinobu hitsu
Single seal in relief at the lower right following signature: Kiyohara jo (or me?)

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

Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Ink and Gold: Art of the Kano," February 12, 2015–May 10, 2015.

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