Flowers and Birds in a Landscape

Artist: Genga (active early 16th century)
Historical period(s)
Muromachi period, ca. 1520
Ink, colors, and gold on paper
H x W: 145.5 x 314.4 cm (57 5/16 x 123 3/4 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Screens (six-panel)

bird, flower, Japan, landscape, Muromachi period (1333 - 1573), tree
Provenance research underway.

This painting does not represent a specific place, but is an appreciation of nature and the seasons of spring and autumn. The artist has selected one season for each screen. Such balanced compositions representing two or four seasons were a common subject of Japanese painting, especially in the screen format.

Little is known about the artist, Genga, who is identified by a seal in the lower left and right corners of these screens. Known paintings by this artist are predominantly of flower-and-bird subjects, and they include both ink paintings and more brilliantly colored examples like these screens, which are the largest known pair by Genga. This pair of screens is an important example of large-format fully colored painting of the Muromachi period, which has become better known over the past two decades through the discovery in Japan of several fine examples.

Published References
  • Kachoga no sekai [Flower and Bird Paintings of Japan]. 11 vols., Tokyo, 1981-1983. vol. 2: pp. 140, 162, pl. 29, fig. 208, 21.
  • Julia Murray. A Decade of Discovery: Selected Acquisitions 1970-1980. Exh. cat. Washington, 1979. cat. 49, pp. 64-65.
  • Art of Asia Recently Acquired by American Museums, 1971
    . vol. 26 New York and Honolulu, 1972-1973. p. 84, fig. 14.
  • Nakamura Tanio. Screen of Flowers and Birds of Four Seasons, by Genga. no. 24, December 1968. pp. 93-97.
  • Kiku, Koyo. vol. 11 Kyoto. p. 175.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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