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: Rooster, Hen, and Chicks

Rooster, Hen, and Chicks

Type
Hanging scroll
Maker(s)
Artist: Kishi Ganku (1749-1838)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1788
Medium
Ink and color on silk
Dimension(s)
H x W (image): 109.6 x 48.2 cm (43 1/8 x 19 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. James Freeman
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F2006.2a-d
Label
The subject of the rooster in Chinese and Japanese painting has traditionally implied serious content. Chinese Zen adepts likened the rooster s alert and attentive anticipation of the dawn to the attitude of a devoted practitioner s eager anticipation of enlightenment; the rooster s 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 artist s characteristically jaded view of an icon held in high esteem. Gaku s interpretation is of an elongated and threatening creature. The rooster s 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 dragonfly s eyes imply horror and this brilliant, minuscule touch conveys Ganku s skill at suggesting the darker side of the ostentatiously regal.
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Keyword(s)
Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, rooster
Collection(s) Area
Japanese Art
Web Resource(s)
Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum






The Freer is closed for renovation and reopening in 2017. The Sackler remains open, with a full lineup of exhibitions and events both in the museum and around DC.