Kano Ujinobu (1616-1669) Japanese Scroll Painting. Plovers in Moonlight.



Plovers in Moonlight

Kano Ujinobu (1616-1669)

Mid 17th century

Ink and gofun on paper


Scroll: H. 124.5 cm x W. 67 cm (49’’ x 26’’)

Image: H. 34 cm x W. 55.5 cm (13.5” x 22”)


A mid 17th century painting by the Kano school artist Kano Ujinobu, inspired by court painters of the Southern Song era (1127-1279). An exquisite landscape where atmosphere and effect predominate; brushed in conjunction with a poetic inscription. The intimate painting captures an evening scene of plovers in moonlight, evoking their cries as the moon sets over the ocean. Ujinobu fully exploits the connection between poetry and painting. Not only does the painting capture the poetic lines, but the calligraphic brushstrokes echo the movement of the birds and are an intrinsic part of the overall composition.

Phonetic reading: 








The voices of
Late night plovers
Call nearby
As the tide ebbs
The moon sinks into the sea 

Kano Ujinobu (1616-1669) was the third generation head of the Tsukiji Odawaracho Omote-eshi branch of the Kano school. The Kano group during the Edo period was a huge and enormously influential painting group that consisted of 4 main groups (Oku-eshi or inner court painters), 15 secondary groups (Omote-eshi or outer court painters) and then and even greater number of Kano town painters who catered to the demands of townspeople instead of the Imperial Court or temples and shrines. His most well-known work in the West is a pair of six-panel crane screens, which are part of the prestigious Avery Brundage Collection held at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco.