拡大《Peony and Peacocks》


    《Peony and Peacocks》

    1781   Color on silk

    A peacock stands on a Taihu stone, its beautiful tail feathers hanging down. A peahen is walking towards him. A peony with long branches and large flowers is placed between them. The signature at the lower right tells us Maruyama Okyo painted it in 1781.
    Okyo worked in Kyoto in the mid-Edo period. He studied many painting styles: the Kano school, Western single-point perspective and chiaroscuro, with imported pigments, and Nanpin school painting, based on naturalist Chinese bird-and-flower painting. His own style earned him great popularity for the combination of naturalism and decorativeness we see here.
    The peacock’s feathers, thickly layered from head to chest, are rendered without building up much paint. For the ornamental tail feathers, Okyo painted multiple layers of lines, from the bottom up, to recreate the way the feathers overlap, skillfully expressing their volume and texture.
    The gorgeous effect comes not only from the peacock and peony motifs but also from the use of bright colors-blue, green, orange, and gold. The colors are so vivid two hundred years later because Okyo used high quality pigments, thanks to his reliable patrons in the imperial court and among wealthy merchants.
    One was Yujo, chief priest at Enman’in temple; Peony and Peacocks (Shokokuji) was in its collection. Created in 1771, it is a hanging scroll, but the size and the peacocks are similar; what was the context in which it was painted?

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    《Peony and Peacocks》