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Birds in a Tree

Accession Number
1976/2.103

Title
Birds in a Tree

Artist(s)
Nakabayashi Chikutô

Object Creation Date
1840

Medium & Support
Hanging scroll, ink on silk

Dimensions
50 1/8 in x 16 5/8 in (127.3 cm x 42.3 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Kurt and Millie Gitter in honor of Stephen Addiss

Label copy
Chikutô has here captured the sense of refreshment and anticipation of early summer. He has rendered the willow and bamboo with a delicate touch, conveying the suppleness of early season foliage. Bamboo and rock had long been favored by Chinese and Japanese literati painters for their association with the Confucian ideal of resilience in the face of hardship. Chikutô has updated this traditional theme and given it greater emotional appeal by the addition of a family of birds nesting among the branches. The father appears alert for possible predators, while the mother gazes protectively upon her brood of timid chicks.
Nakabayashi Chikutô is regarded as one of the leading masters of the “third generation” of literati artists in Japan—a generation that had direct access to imported Chinese paintings. Chikutô is best known for his faithful interpretations of Chinese painting styles. He was also a prolific author of painting treatises.
Maribeth Graybill
“Four Seasons In Japanese Art”: Special Installation of Japanese Gallery at UMMA: Object Labels
July 5, 2003-January 4, 2004

Subject matter
Chikutô has here captured the sense of refreshment and anticipation of early summer. He has rendered the willow and bamboo with a delicate touch, conveying the suppleness of early season foliage. Bamboo and rock had long been favored by Chinese and Japanese literati painters for their association with the Confucian ideal of resilience in the face of hardship. Chikutô has updated this traditional theme and given it greater emotional appeal by the addition of a family of birds nesting among the branches. The father appears alert for possible predators, while the mother gazes protectively upon her brood of timid chicks.

Physical Description
A family of birds rest among willow branches. Three chicks rest below, while the larger parents perch above

Primary Object Classification
Painting

Primary Object Type
hanging scroll

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
bamboo (material)
chicks
hanging scrolls
ink
rock (inorganic material)
trees

4 Related Resources

Ink and Realisms
(Part of: Artist Associations and Art Movements)
Japan Pax Tokugawa 1600-1868
(Part of: Empires and Colonialism)

& Author Notes

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