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  2. The KNM Collection
  3. Masterpieces of the KNM
  4. Medieval Paintings
  5. Birds and Flowers of the Four Seasons
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Medieval Ink Paintings

Birds and Flowers of the Four Seasons

  • by Kano Motonobu
  • Eight hanging scrolls
  • Color on paper
  • Proportions:
  • A/B/C/D:174.5 x 139.5 cm
  • the other four scrolls:174.5 x 99.0 cm
  • Muromachi Period (16th Century)
  • Important Cultural Property
  • (Daisen-in Temple, Kyoto)

This work was originally installed in the Hojo Hall (Hall of Danna) of Daisen-in Temple, a sub-temple of the great Kyoto Zen temple, Daitoku-ji. It is considered to be one of the great masterpieces of Kano Motonobu (1476-1559).

These scrolls were originally painted as eight sliding-door panels forming a single grand scene. The focal point of the composition is a large pine tree. Deep colors are applied only to the surrounding flowers and birds, creating a vivid and dramatic effect. This painting includes many typical elements of the lavish and opulent panel paintings of the Momoyama Period.

This work is generally considered to have been painted in 1513, the same year that Daisen-in Temple was established. A interesting theory by pre-modern architectural historians suggests that the panels may have been painted in 1535, in honor of large-scale renovations of Hojo Hall.

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