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Between and Mortarboard


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One of a pair of six-fold screens

Accession Number
1965/1.179

Title
One of a pair of six-fold screens

Artist(s)

Object Creation Date
19th century

Medium & Support
ink and light color on paper, one of pair of Six fold screens

Dimensions
32 ¾ in x 18 ⅛ in (83.19 cm x 46.04 cm)

Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection Fund

Label copy
Gallery Rotation Winter 2012
Kano Tan’yu
Japan, 1604–1674
[Six of] The Twelve Months
Edo period (1615–1868)
19th century
Six-fold screen, ink and light color on paper
Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection Fund, 1965/1.179
Depictions of the seasons have a prominent place in the tradition of the Kano School (the official school of painting of the Tokugawa shogunate) and Japanese art. Six-fold screens such as this, the second of a pair in UMMA’s collection, are meant to represent six of the twelve months of the year, with keen attention paid to the birds and flowers associated with each month. Although this screen bears Kano Tan’yu’s signature, it was probably created by his studio or by followers working in this famous artist’s style.
Painters were not alone in their masterful use of seasonal references—poetry also drew heavily on such motifs and exchange often took place between these genres, with poems inspiring painted scenes and paintings finding representation in poetic verse. The following late Heian (794–1185) and early Kamakura (1185–1333) period poems would have been part of the artistic dialogue that informs the motifs on these screens:
Spring is the cherry blossom
Summer is the cuckoo
Autumn is the moon
And in winter,
the shimmering snow is fresh to the eye.
Eihei Do-gen (1200–1253)
In the evening, the biting autumn wind blows through the field
and quails cry in the Village of Deep Grasses
Fujiwara Toshihari (1114–1204)

Subject matter
Depictions of the seasons have a prominent place in the tradition of the Kano School (the official school of painting of the Tokugawa shogunate) and Japanese art. Six-fold screens such as this, probably one of a pair, are meant to represent six of the twelve months of the year, with keen attention paid to the birds and flowers associated with each month. Although this screen bears Kano Tan'yu's signature, it was probably created by his studio or by followers working in this famous artist's style.
Painters were not alone in their masterful use of seasonal references—poetry also drew heavily on such motifs and exchange often took place between these genres, with poems inspiring painted scenes and paintings finding representation in poetic verse. The following late Heian (794—1185) and early Kamakura (1185—1333) period poems would have been part of the artistic dialogue that informs the motifs on these screens:
Spring is the cherry blossom
Summer is the cuckoo
Autumn is the moon
And in winter,
the shimmering snow is fresh to the eye.
Eihei Do-gen (1200—1253)
In the evening, the biting autumn wind blows through the field
and quails cry in the Village of Deep Grasses
Fujiwara Toshihari (1114–1204)

Physical Description
These panels represent six of the twelve months. The panels each have calligraphy and a red seal in one corner. In each panel there is a bird and a type of plant, which are suggestive of particular months. On the top left panel there is bamboo, the bow of the boat with a small lamp attached to it, and a type of water fowl. In the bottom middle panel is a blooming sakura tree and a pheasant. In the bottom left panel is blue and white wisteria ans small sparrows. In the bottom right panel there is a willow slowly coming back to life after winter over a thatched building.

Primary Object Classification
Painting

Primary Object Type
screen

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
Japanese painting styles
autumn
bamboo (material)
boats
cranes (equipment)
crows (birds)
ducks (birds)
flowers (plant components)
houses
mountains
rivers
screens (furniture)
spring (season)
summer (season)
trees
winter

& Author Notes

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