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Bird on a Gardenia Branch
Japan; Muromachi period (1392-1573), 16th century
Hanging scroll; ink on paper
Image only, H. 17 1/4 in. (44 cm); W. 12 1/4 in. (31 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Charles Dreyfus
This painting illustrates a popular theme of Chinese-style monochrome painting in Muromachi-period Japan (1392 - 1568), a small bird singing while perched on the branch of a flowering tree. In this instance, some of the flowers on the gardenia tree have bloomed while others are still in bud. The painting is characterized by its asymmetrical construction, the pale wash of ink that delicately shapes the head of the bird, and the use of areas of dark ink to define the bird's tail and certain areas on its wings.
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