An azure-winged magpie perched preening on a pomegranate tree. Painted on silk with ink and pigments. The colorful fruits of the pomegranate and bird’s feather make for decorative composition. In Japan, bird and flower painting began painted during Heian period (794-1185) influenced by Chinese Northern Song Paintings. It became more popular in Momoyama period when Shogun decorated their castles with splendid paintings. The Japanese painters learnt the Ming and Qin Dynasty bird and flower paintings and produced paintings by sketching from nature with adding decorative effect. Bird and flower paintings were also very popular with the literati and the merchant class in the Edo period. The painting is signed Chikuto and sealed. Nakabayashi Chikuto (1776-1853) was a Japanese Nan-ga (Southern literati) painter active during late Edo period. He was born in a doctor’s family. He first studied painting under Yamada Kyujo and later developed his skills under the patronage of a wealthy merchant Kamiya Tenyu by copying the paintings he had collected. He then came up to Kyoto and became a leading Nan-ga artist.
The painting is in good condition with light insignificant marks due to its great age.
Painting: 16 3/8” x 42 1/4” (41.5cm x 107.0cm)
Scroll: 21 1/8” x 72 7/8” (53.5cm x 185.0cm)