May 4, 2011
May 4, 2011

Peafowl and Phoenixes

Peafowl and Phoenixes


late 1500s

Part of a set. See all set records

attributed to Tosa Mitsuyoshi 土佐 光吉

(Japanese, 1539–1613)

Pair of six-panel screens; ink, color, and gold on gilded paper

Overall: 173.1 x 374.4 cm (68 1/8 x 147 3/8 in.); Overall: 175.9 x 377.2 cm (69 1/4 x 148 1/2 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1986.2


Did you know?

Members of the Tosa studio of painters once served as heads of the imperial painting bureau.


Phoenixes are fantastical birds said to inhabit paulownia trees and eat bamboo, and to celebrate virtuous rulers. Peafowl are birds that amuse themselves in the lake of the Buddha Amida’s Pure Land, a paradise where many once hoped to find themselves after death. Both birds appeared on Japanese textiles or paintings in the 1500s and 1600s, used in official ceremonies centered around emperors.

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