Two Herons in the Snow

Kiyohara Yukinobu (Japanese, 1643-1682)

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In China, images of herons became auspicious symbols since the word for heron is pronounced the same as the word for good fortune, lù. Although herons can be seen throughout Japan, they became a popular subject for Japanese ink paintings beginning in the Muromachi period (1392–1568) because of the influence of imported Chinese works. The characters for heron and fortune do not share the same pronunciation in Japanese, so the auspicious connotation of the birds was not emphasized in Japan.

Yukinobu is known for her delicate and charming paintings, and she is one of the most important female artists of the Edo period (1600–1868).

Mr. and Mrs. James W. Alsdorf, Chicago, Illinois; given to the John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, in 1956.

Object Information

Kiyohara Yukinobu (Japanese, 1643-1682)
creation date
ink and light color on silk
37 x 13-1/2 in. (image)
mark descriptions
Signed: Kiyohara-shi onna Yukinobu hitsu
Overlapping rotated square relief seal: [Kiyohara onna]
accession number
credit line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James W. Alsdorf
Public Domain
Asian Art

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