Tatars playing polo and hunting

Artist: Kano Tan'yū 狩野探幽 (1602-1674)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1668
Ink and light color on paper
H x W (.36): 152.3 x 351.6 cm (59 15/16 x 138 7/16 in) H x W (.37): 152.1 x 351.6 cm (59 7/8 x 138 7/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — funds provided by the bequest of Edith Ehrman
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Screens (six-panel)

Edo period (1615 - 1868), goat, hunting, Japan, landscape, man, mountain, polo, rabbit, sport, tiger, woman
Provenance research underway.

This pair of screens depict the equestrian activities of the nomadic Tartars of northern China. Tan'yu's screens are unusual in that they are preliminary sketches of full screen compositions. Tan'yu's ink monochrome and light color renderings are accompanied by various notations indicating his intentions for the use of color in the full polychrome production. Kano Jinnoji (active 1610-40), whom the completed pair is attributed, was Tan'yu's uncle. Unlike his uncle, Tan'yu arranged the scenes in this painting as genre episodes within a seasonal progression from right to left, spring to winter.

In order to be readily accessible to the shogunate, which he served as principal official painter, Tan'yu lived near the gate of Edo castle, at Kajibashi. The residence gave its name to a school of painters who served, in effect, as the painting academy during the Edo period (1615-1868). Tan'yu served not only the shogunate but also a wide range of Edo collectors for whom he was aesthetic adviser and authenticator of Chinese and Japanese painting.

Published References
  • unknown title. no. 194 Tokyo, July 1982. fig. 61.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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