Height: 1148.000 mm
Width: 560.000 mm (each)
Gift of Sir W. Gwynne-Evans, Bt.
Asia JA JP 637-9 (1913.5-1.0228-30)
Kanō Yōboku Tsunenobu, Hotei / Pheasant / Cock and Hen, a triptych of hanging scroll paintings
Early Edo period, late 17th century AD
The subjects of these scrolls are all auspicious. In the centre stands Hotei (Chinese: Budai) holding his staff, to the right is a pheasant on a pine tree, and to the left are a cockerel and hen among bamboo. Hotei is one of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune, named after the linen bag in which he stores 'precious things'. He is always shown laughing, and with a huge stomach.
Tsunenobu (1636-1713) was the eldest son of Kanō Naonobu (1607-50), younger brother of the renowned artist Kanō Tan'yū (1602-74). When his father died, Tsunenobu became a pupil of his uncle, and derived elements from the style of both men. In this work, the gnarled bark of the pine tree and the rough shading show the influence of Tan'yū, but the delicate lines of Budai's body and the light treatment of the bamboo and fowl are essentially Tsunenobu's own style.
The signatures all read 'Tsunenobu hitsu' ('From the brush of Tsunenobu') and the seals all read 'Kosen kinjū' ('Following with balance an old river'), implying a fidelity to traditional styles. These scrolls are thought to date prior to 1704, when Tsunenobu received the title hōgen which is not included here.
I. Hirayama and T. Kobayashi (eds.), Hizō Nihon bijutsu taikan-2, vol. 3 (Tokyo, Kodansha, 1993)