18th Century Japanese Framed Painting, Deer & Bush Clover.



Anonymous Kano School Artist

Deer & Bush clover

Mid 18th century

Japanese framed painting. Ink, color, gofun and gold-leaf on paper.


H. 145 cm x W. 105 cm (57” x 41”)

Price: USD 12,500

This is the work of an 18th century Japanese painter belonging to one of the hereditary Kano ateliers – the dominant school of painting in Japan from the 16th through 19th centuries. The Kano school established and maintained its prominence through the patronage of the warrior elite and carried out major painting projects for castles, for the palatial residences where warlords lived, and for the Buddhist temple complexes where they worshipped.

The vivid pigments and deep patina of the gold-leaf create a strong impact, and the dramatic use of negative space leads the viewer directly to the subject which is deeply imbued with literary associations. Depicted is a grouping of five Japanese spotted deer in a field of flowering bush clover. This seasonal portrayal of deer is closely related to Japanese waka poetry, and in poetry deer are intimately connected with autumn. They represent feelings of nostalgia and melancholy. More specifically paintings and designs of deer with clover can be associated with a famous waka poem by Mibu no Tadamine from the Kokin Wakashu, a 10th century collection of Japanese poetry.

Yamazato fa

aki koso kotoni


sika no naku ne ni

me no samesitutu

In a mountain village

the autumn, especially,

is lonely.

The braying of the deer

continually awakens me.

This painting is mounted on lightweight, archival board, the frame of polished black lacquer. Conservation, mounting and framing was carried out in Kyoto utilizing traditional techniques and craftsmen.