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Pheasants and pine trees
雉松木図屏風
Place of Origin: Japan
Date: 1650-1750
Historical Period: Edo period (1615-1868)
Materials: Ink and colors on paper with gold leaf
Style or Ware: Kano school
Dimensions: H. 59 in x W. 215.75 in, H. 150.5 cm x W. 548.0 cm Display each panel: D. 13 1/2 in x L. 128 1/2 in, D. 34.3 cm x L. 326.4 cm Display both panels D. 13 1/2 in x L. 257 in, D. 34.3 cm x L. 652.8 cm
Credit Line: The Avery Brundage Collection
Department: Japanese Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: B60D64+
On Display: No

Description

Label:

Against a golden background, gnarled pine trees in the right and left screens lean toward center of the two-screen composition. Between the trees is a flowing stream, half hidden behind golden clouds. Near the riverbank in the right screen stand two pheasants, and another pair perch on the tree trunk in the left. As evergreens, pine trees are associated with youth, long life, and strength. They are therefore a favored theme for folding screens and sliding doors in formal Japanese rooms in the homes of imperial aristocrats and high-ranking samurai.

The glittering backgrounds of the screens had a practical function: they brightened the interiors of Japanese homes, which until the late 1800s did not have glass windows and doors to let in natural light.

The presence of gold in these screens also demonstrated the economic power and social status of the owner.


More Information

Exhibition History: "Hidden Gold: Mining its Meaning in Asian Art", Asian Art Museum, March 4, 2016-May 8, 2016
Additional Label:

Against an expansive background of golden clouds, gnarled pine trees reach across space from the right and left sides of this screen. Because of their evergreen foliage, pines are considered a symbol of both youth and long life in Japan. They also fuse associations between benedictions for the imperial family and the power of the traditional Japanese deities, the kami. For its part, the pheasant is an emblem of imperial authority in China, and this same suggestion of royalty may attach to these Japanese pheasants as well. The painting is executed in the style associated with the Kano school, professional artists who served Japan’s military leaders.

Japanese folding screens and sliding doors meant for formal rooms often contained paintings against golden backgrounds. These glittering backgrounds were more than merely beautiful: they brightened the dimly lit interiors of aristocratic Japanese homes, which did not have transparent glass windows and doors until the late nineteenth century. The use of gold also attested to the owners’ economic power and social status. The imagery of longevity (pine) and the imagery of status (gold) thus merge indelibly into one another in these screens.

(Label from Exhibition Hidden Gold: Mining Its Meaning in Asian Art)


Label:

Against a golden background, gnarled pine trees in the right and left screens lean toward center of the two-screen composition. Between the trees is a flowing stream, half hidden behind golden clouds. Near the riverbank in the right screen stand two pheasants, and another pair perch on the tree trunk in the left. As evergreens, pine trees are associated with youth, long life, and strength. They are therefore a favored theme for folding screens and sliding doors in formal Japanese rooms in the homes of imperial aristocrats and high-ranking samurai.

The glittering backgrounds of the screens had a practical function: they brightened the interiors of Japanese homes, which until the late 1800s did not have glass windows and doors to let in natural light.

The presence of gold in these screens also demonstrated the economic power and social status of the owner.


Exhibition History: "Hidden Gold: Mining its Meaning in Asian Art", Asian Art Museum, March 4, 2016-May 8, 2016
Expanded Label:

Against an expansive background of golden clouds, gnarled pine trees reach across space from the right and left sides of this screen. Because of their evergreen foliage, pines are considered a symbol of both youth and long life in Japan. They also fuse associations between benedictions for the imperial family and the power of the traditional Japanese deities, the kami. For its part, the pheasant is an emblem of imperial authority in China, and this same suggestion of royalty may attach to these Japanese pheasants as well. The painting is executed in the style associated with the Kano school, professional artists who served Japan’s military leaders.

Japanese folding screens and sliding doors meant for formal rooms often contained paintings against golden backgrounds. These glittering backgrounds were more than merely beautiful: they brightened the dimly lit interiors of aristocratic Japanese homes, which did not have transparent glass windows and doors until the late nineteenth century. The use of gold also attested to the owners’ economic power and social status. The imagery of longevity (pine) and the imagery of status (gold) thus merge indelibly into one another in these screens.

(Label from Exhibition Hidden Gold: Mining Its Meaning in Asian Art)