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Kanō Yasunobu

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Kanō Yasunobu | Japan 1613–85 | Pair of six fold screens: Birds and flowers of the four seasons 17th century (Edo period) | Gold and colours on paper on six-fold wooden framed screens | 131.2 x 245.7cm (each screen) | Purchased 2008 with funds from the Henry and Amanda Bartlett Trust through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

Kanō Yasunobu,Pair of six fold screens: Birds and flowers of the four seasons (detail/left hand side) 17th century (Edo period)

Kanō Yasunobu,Pair of six fold screens: Birds and flowers of the four seasons (detail/right hand side) 17th century (Edo period)

Kanō Yasunobu 
Japan  1613–85
Pair of six fold screens:  Birds and flowers of the four seasons 
17th century (Edo period)
Gold and colours on paper on six-fold wooden framed screens
131.2 x 245.7cm (each screen)
Purchased 2008 with funds from the Henry and Amanda Bartlett Trust through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation
Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

Kanō Yasunobu 

Pair of six fold screens:  Birds and flowers of the four seasons 17th century (Edo period)

Kanō Yasunobu (1613–85) was a member of the Kanō school, the most powerful and influential of Japan’s painting schools. The school was founded in Kyoto by Kanō Masanobu (1434–1530) who was appointed goyō-eshi (official painter) to the Muromachi shogunate (1338–1568). It continued to attract the official patronage of the shogunate until the end of the Edo period (1615–1868), its official status cementing the school’s position as the dominant force on Japanese painting throughout the period.

This pair of screens depicts birds and flowers of the four seasons. The depiction of the seasons, and particularly seasonal change, is a favourite subject matter frequently celebrated in Japanese painting; bird and flower imagery, which infused highly detailed representation with subtle meaning and delicately nuanced sentiment was very popular. The passing of the seasons stirs gently ambivalent emotions — pleasure at the beauties of nature and life and regret at their frailty and transience. The screens follow the conventional Japanese depiction of seasonal change by including all four seasons from spring to winter, within a single landscape scene, spanning both screens.