- Museum number
Pair of paintings, hanging scrolls. A pair of long-tailed birds, prunus blossom and peonies (right), a pair of white birds, cotton roses, gentians and chrysanthemums (left). Ink and colour and gold on silk. Sealed.
- Production date
Height: 186 centimetres (mount)
Height: 101.50 centimetres
Width: 53.60 centimetres (mount)
Width: 33.80 centimetres
- Curator's comments
In later career Okyo revolutionised Japanese art by introducing elements of Western-derived spatial structure and generally renovating the art of large-scale screen painting. These scrolls are thought to date from his thirties, a period of intense study when Okyo was making careful copies of Chinese and Japanese paintings in a wide variety of styles. Here the model must be the hyper-refined bird and flower paintings executed for the Ming and Qing courts, with an even greater degree of naturalism stemming from Okyo's own intense powers of observation. The seal impressed on the rocks at the bottom of each scroll is very worn, perhaps even added after Okyo's death. (Label copy, TTC 1997)
Okyo was a farmer's son who went to Kyoto to train with the Kano master Ishida Yutei (1721-86), and became a popular and extremely influential artist as well as the founder of a major new painting school. He specialised in a close observation of nature, but these scrolls also demonstrate the influences he received from the tradition of Chinese bird-and-flower painting. The scrolls are thought to date from Okyo's thirties, when he was engaged in intensive study of Chinese paintings in the temple collections of Kyoto.
Hizo Nihon bijutsu taikan Vol 3
The prevailing colorfulness is given distinction by the care with which fine lines are inscribed on the petals and the various colors applied. This brilliant yet dignified style, with its lavish use of 'gunjo' (ultramarine), 'rokusho' (verdigris), and gold paint, probably represents a special manner assumed by Maruyama Okyo when doing work for members of the imperial family. It is interesting to note the stylistic differences between the powerful manner assumed by the Kano school in doing work for the high-ranking samurai and the elegant style of Okyo's works for the nobility.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
Osaka, Municipal Museum of Art; Maruyama Okyo; 13 Sept-26 Oct 2003
Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art; Maruyama Okyo; 3 Nov 2003-14 Dec 2004
Edo-Tokyo Museum; Maruyama Okyo; 3 Feb-21 Mar 2004
2008 Feb 18-2008 Jun 1, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from prehistory to the present'
2011 Jun- 2011 Oct, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from prehistory to the present'
2016 Apr–Oct, London, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from Prehistory to the Present'
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- The collection of Japanese and Chinese paintings belonging to Arthur Morrison was purchased by Sir William Gwynne-Evans, who presented it to the British Museum in 1913.
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Asia painting number: Jap.Ptg.2386 (Japanese Painting Number)
Asia painting number: Jap.Ptg.2387 (Japanese Painting Number)