Plum, Narcissus, and Bamboo with Magpie

Artist: Yamamoto Baiitsu 山本梅逸 (1783-1856)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, ca. 1832-1852
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 133.5 x 51.6 cm (52 9/16 x 20 5/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Klaus F. Naumann, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 07: Feathered Ink

Hanging scroll

bamboo, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, kakemono, magpie, narcissus, plum blossom
Provenance research underway.

This painting employs traditional symbolic elements-prunus, bamboo, magpie, and narcissus. In combination they form a rebus-a visual pun-that indicates felicitous beginnings. This elegant and lyrical painting, full of realistic detail, achieves its effect through the heavily sized and closely woven silk that holds the ink like a shimmering film on the surface. Baiitsu's composition contrasts dense vegetation with open space that is penetrated by the magpie weighing heavily on a bamboo branch.

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton, Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. pp. 326-327.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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