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: Red Sea Bream (Tai) on Bamboo Leaves

Red Sea Bream (Tai) on Bamboo Leaves

Hanging scroll
Artist: Ogawa Ritsuo (1663-1747)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 18th century
Individualist School
Color on silk
H x W (image): 30 x 50.7 cm (11 13/16 x 19 15/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
The Japanese word tai (sea bream) is also an element of the word medetai, which means auspicious or fortunate. Tai is prized for its flavor and as a food signifying good fortune for the New Year, weddings, and other celebrations. Here, the painter Ogawa Ritsuo, who was skilled in the decoration of lacquer, presented the tai on a bed of bamboo, a plant that symbolizes longevity. The tai exhibits meticulous details and unusual coloration in its scales. Ritsuos inclusion of gold behind the silk creates unusual iridescent effects that utilize the technical knowledge and precision he developed from his experience in maki-e, the practice of applying metal powders and gold leaf to lacquerware for decoration. According to the inscription to the right, Ritsuo painted this intriguing still life in his seventy-sixth year.

To 1897
Bunkio Matsuki (1867-1940), Boston, to 1897 [1]

From 1897 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Bunkio Matsuki in 1897 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Kakemono and Makimono List, pg. 22, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Former owner
Bunkio Matsuki 松木文恭 (C.L. Freer source) (1867-1940)
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919)
On View Location
Currently not on view
bamboo, Edo period (1615 - 1868), fish, Japan, kakemono
Collection(s) Area
Japanese Art
Web Resource(s)
Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum

The Freer|Sackler is currently closed for renovations, updates, and gallery reinstallation. The popular exhibition Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan is still on view in the International Gallery. (Enter through the Ripley Center.) Please join us for our weekend-long reopening celebration on October 14 and 15, 2017.