The subject of the rooster in Chinese and Japanese painting has traditionally implied serious content. Chinese Zen adepts likened the roosters alert and attentive anticipation of the dawn to the attitude of a devoted practitioners eager anticipation of enlightenment; the roosters crow was emblematic of the moment of satori (enlightenment). The rooster also was thought to embody the Five Virtues: martial spirit, literary accomplishment, loyalty, courage and virtue. The 18th century in particular witnessed a number of Japanese painters issuing quite spectacular renderings of these creatures. Most were complex studies in color and pattern; some were presented in ink monochrome. The painter Ito Jakuchu (1716-1800) was the acknowledged master of the form. This scene of barnyard fowl painted by Kishi Ganku offers the artists characteristically jaded view of an icon held in high esteem. Gakus interpretation is of an elongated and threatening creature. The roosters neck feathering, in particular, is luxuriously rendered to the point of the surreal. The most telling episode in the composition is the feeding process; a hen passes a dragonfly to a ravenous chick. The dragonflys eyes imply horror and this brilliant, minuscule touch conveys Gankus skill at suggesting the darker side of the ostentatiously regal.