Nishiyama Hôen (Japanese; Shijo School, Edo Period (1615–1868), 1804–1867),
Two Peacocks and Flowers
, 19th century
ink and colors on silk on two-fold screen, 66 x 74 1/2 in.; 167.64 x 189.23 cm
Museum purchase, 1998.50
Hôen was the most prominent Shijo painter in Osaka, and one of the best painters of his time. Some say he was the last great Shijo artist. He is noted for his masterly drawing and gentle, refined style. A master at melding tones of color, he specialized in birds and flowers, as well as figures.
Painters of the Shijo school, founded in Kyoto in the eighteenth century, are noted for the naturalism of their work using traditional Japanese techniques rather than western devices of perspective and modeling to achieve greater accuracy of depiction and a sense of the everyday.
Traditional Japanese artists painted on silk and paper with ink and color to create scrolls or screens. Folding screens, or byobu, are moveable paintings which functioned as dividers in large and drafty spaces in palaces, temples and homes.