Ikeda Koson, Shrike and Autumn Plants, a hanging scroll painting

Late Edo period, early to mid-19th century AD

This work evokes the atmosphere of autumn, with a brown shrike perched on a leafless tree and a profusion of grasses and flowers below. The grey tones of the ink used for the tree-trunk and distant pampas-grasses in the mist are contrasted with the dazzling green ivy, red lacquer-tree leaves, burnets, and daisies, creating a decorative quality typical of the Rimpa school, to which Koson belonged.

Ikeda Koson (1801-66) was originally from Echigo province (modern Niigata Prefecture), but went to Edo (modern Tokyo), where he studied with Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1828), the leading Rimpa artist there. He painted the popular, colourful kachōga (bird-and-flower paintings), but he later took up study of Chinese ink paintings of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) and began to paint in this style. Here he has managed to fuse the two: the foreground is clear-cut and colourful, with full use made of the Rimpa technique of tarashi-komi for a puddled-colour effect on the ivy leaves. In the background, however, the scene fades into misty ink washes, and two small birds flying low are done in pale ink, reminiscent of a shadow-picture. The tree-trunk also is done in the mokkotsu ('boneless') method derived from ink-painting, where no outlines are used.

The signature reads 'Koson Sanshin sha', and the seals read 'Sanshin Shin in' and 'Ren'an'.

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Ikeda Koson, Shrike and Autumn Plants, a hanging scroll painting

  • Detail: signature and seals

    Detail: signature and seals


More information


I. Hirayama and T. Kobayashi (eds.), Hizō Nihon bijutsu taikan-2, vol. 3 (Tokyo, Kodansha, 1993)


Height: 1215.000 mm
Width: 510.000 mm

Museum number

Asia JA JP 1358 (1881.12-10.0810)



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