painting / hanging scroll
Painting, hanging scroll. Winter scene of mynah bird perched on bamboo branch laden with snow (copy of work by Bian Jingzhao) and summer scene of insects, including grasshopper and dragonfly, on gourd plant in bloom (copy of work by Zhao Chang); within hexagon and circle created by 'sotoguma' (outside shading) technique with applied gold dust. Ink, colours and gold on silk. Signed, sealed and inscribed.
- Painted in: Japan
- Height: 53.6 centimetres
- Width: 823 centimetres
Inscription TransliterationKosen Fujiwara Nakanobu hitsu
Inscription TranslationFrom the brush of Kosen Fujiwara Nakanobu
Inscription TransliterationKosen Nakanobu
Inscription Positionright vignette, top left
Inscription TranslationBian Wenjin
Inscription Positionleft vignette, top left
Inscription TranslationZhao Chang
The inscriptions state that the painting of insects on a gourd plant is in the style of Zhao Chang (worked early 11th century) of the Northern Song, while the mynah bird on snow-covered bamboo imitates Bian Jingzhao (Bian Wenjin, worked early 15th century), a court artist of the Ming. In fact both halves of the painting are done in an identical, delicate style. While highly reverential towards classical Chinese examples, the overriding loyalty of Japanese painters of the later Kano school was towards imitating earlier works of their own lineage. As head of the Hamacho branch of the Edo Kano school, it is likely that Nakanobu copied a pre-existing Japanese copy. (Label copy, TTC 1997)Hizo Nihon bijutsu taikan Vol 3
Kano Nakanobu (1811-71) was the fifth son of Isen'in Naganobu of the Kobiki-cho Kano family. In this work, a circular space and a hexagonal space surrounded by a light brushing of gold paint enclose copies of, respectively, a painting by Zhaochang showing a grasshopper, a dragonfly, and other insects gathered on a gourd plant; and a painting by Bian Jingzhao showing a bird perched on a snowy bamboo branch. There is plenty to enjoy in this work, with the fine detail of its line and colouring.'155. Till 1841 he used this name Kōsen 幸川. afterwards he used the name Tōsen by which he is generally known.'
'Painted by Kano Naka-nobu (not Naga-nobu)' (unattributed annotations in the specially interleaved Japanese Study Room copy of Anderson 1886)
Not on display
2007 Jun 13-Oct 7, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from Prehistory to the Present'
2010 Oct 19- 2011 Feb 14, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from Prehistory to the Present'
2016 Oct–2017 Apr, London, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from Prehistory to the Present'
The collection of over 2,000 Japanese and Chinese paintings assembled by Prof. William Anderson during his residency in Japan, 1873-1880, was acquired by the Museum in 1881. The items were not listed in the register, but rather were published separately as the 'Descriptive and Historical Catalogue of a Collection of Japanese and Chinese Paintings in the British Museum' (Longmans & Co, 1886).
- Jap.Ptg.969 (Japanese Painting Number)
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Object reference number: JCF208
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