Height: 536.000 mm
Width: 823.000 mm
William Anderson Collection
Asia JA JP 969 (1881.12-10.0155)
Kanō Tōsen Nakanobu, Birds and Flowers after Classical Chinese Paintings, a hanging scroll painting
Late Edo period, early 19th century AD, before 1841
Gold dust has been applied to the silk in the sotoguma ('outside shading') technique in order to create a hexagonal and a circular space in the composition. Within the hexagon is depicted a winter scene - a mynah bird perched on a bamboo branch piled with snow. This is described as a copy of a work by the Chinese artist Bian Jingzhao, a painter of bird-and-flower themes of the early Ming dynasty (1368-1644), who was well known in Japan.
The circle contains a summer scene - insects, such as a grasshopper and dragonfly, sit on a gourd plant in bloom. The original of this was by Zhao Chang, a painter of bird-and-flower works of the Northern Song dynasty (960-1126), known for his realistic style.
Each vignette has the original artist's name inscribed at top left. Although the original models are attributed to different artists, the styles have here been made 'uniform'. Classical Chinese works were highly respected, but the loyalty of Kanō painters was to their school, and the model used for this work was probably an earlier Japanese copy by a Kanō artist. Nakanobu (1811-71) was a son of Isen'in Naganobu, head of the Kobiki-chō branch of the Kanō school, who was later adopted as the head of the Hama-chō branch.
The signature reads 'Kōsen Fujiwara Nakanobu hitsu' ('From the brush of Kōsen Fujiwara Nakanobu', and the seal reads 'Kōsen Nakanobu'. Nakanoby ceased to use the name Kōsen after 1841.
I. Hirayama and T. Kobayashi (eds.), Hizō Nihon bijutsu taikan-2, vol. 3 (Tokyo, Kodansha, 1993)