Feb 17, 2015
Feb 23, 2015

Puppies, Sparrows, and Chrysanthemums

Puppies, Sparrows, and Chrysanthemums


c. 1792–94

Part of a set. See all set records

Nagasawa Rosetsu

(Japanese, 1754–1799)

Fusuma panels remounted as hanging scrolls; ink and slight color on paper

Each panel: 211.4 x 94 cm (83 1/4 x 37 in.); Each painting: 167.6 x 91.5 cm (66 x 36 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1970.71


Did you know?

The round circular areas in the paintings' paper surfaces, each surrounded by a dark halo of embedded dirt and finger oils, indicate the location of the door "catches."


These paintings were originally mounted as sliding doors (fusuma) used inside a building. The circular areas on the paintings’ paper surfaces are traces of the former positions of the door pulls (hikite). A flock of sparrows gathers on a trellis supporting flowering chrysanthemum. Below is a litter of puppies, some cavorting, others napping. The tender story created by the curious puppy peering up and tilting its head to listen to the bird’s insistent call in the leftmost part of the composition is characteristic of Nagasawa Rosetsu’s paintings, which often use animals to illustrate the human condition.

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