Quail and Millet

Tosa Mitsunari (Japanese, 1646-1710)

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鶉稗図

In Japanese art, the calls of quail, like the cries of deer, are particularly associated with autumn, withered desolation, and melancholic reflections on the evanescence of life. Yet, poetry has fostered the discovery of beauty within that desolation.

The lines of poetry at the top echo the pattern of the bending leaves and dangling ripened heads of millet. The poet describes hearing the cries of quails carried by mountain breezes as he looks out over dew-covered autumn fields.

Mitsunari succeeded his father, Mitsuoki, as official painter to the imperial court and, also like his father, specialized in the painting of quails.

Object Information

artist
Tosa Mitsunari (Japanese, 1646-1710)
period
Edo
creation date
1646-1710
materials
ink and color on silk
dimensions
38-7/8 x 15-7/8 in. (image)
73 x 22-1/4 in. (overall)
mark descriptions
Signed: Tosa Gyobu Gon no Daifu Fujiwara Mitsunari hitsu
Seal: Mitsunari no in
accession number
2000.44
credit line
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Crane Fund
copyright
Public Domain
collection
Asian Art
colors

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