19th Century Japanese Scroll Painting, Birds & Flowers of the Four Seasons.



Birds and flowers of the four seasons

Early to mid-19th century

Ink, pigment and gofun on silk

Unidentified artist

Signature: Shuho

Seal: Shuho ga in


Scroll: H. 220 cm x W. 101.5 cm (86.5’’ x 40’’)

Price: USD 10,800

A large Japanese bird and flower scroll painting from the late Edo period. It is a tour-de-force work of naturalistic painting. All four seasons are represented though they are mixed together without a pattern specifically based on the times of the year. There is instead a rhythmic balance between sizes, colors and shapes. In combination with the dynamic composition, the exquisite representation and refined color expression result in a picture plane filled with vitality. The painting, paired with the patterned silk brocade creates a sumptuous visual effect.

The large format, complex composition and profusion of details are all derived from Chinese Ming dynasty bird-and-flower paintings. In the same manner, most of the birds are exotic. The work is focused on two silver pheasants surrounded by orioles, finches, waterfowl, a crested myna and a kingfisher that enliven a natural landscape. Winter camellias and spring plum blossoms profligate in the upper fields while the lower fields depict summery waterways highlighted with Japanese spatterdock. Flowering white chrysanthemums of autumn flourish through the middle ground.