Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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Plum in Spring
  • Kanō Naonobu
    born: Kyoto, Japan ; active: Japan
  • Plum in Spring, 1600s, Edo period (1600–1868)
  • Where object was made: Japan
  • ink, color, gold leaf on paper
  • Image Dimensions Height/Width: 1549 x 562 mm
    Sheet/Paper Dimensions: 1559 x 610 mm
    Image Dimensions Height/Width: 61 x 22 1/8 in
    Sheet/Paper Dimensions: 61 3/8 x 24 in
  • Gift of Curtis Besinger, Professor Emeritus
  • Not on display
  • 1996.0185.b
Label Text

Archive Label 2003:
Folding screens (byōbu) vary in size from very large pairs that function as room dividers or backdrops for important events to smaller more intimate works intended for quiet contemplation. Screens with their accordion-like format are often more powerful and accessible than hanging scrolls or prints.

The artists of Edo Japan (1615-1867) made their mark on the screen format in a number of different ways. One of the most popular was by looking to Japan’s classical past, thus some folding screens illustrate selections from Japanese classical literature. Others depict the ideal of cultured Edo people engaged in leisure pastimes and elegant pursuits, while still other byōbu show man’s relationship with nature and the changing seasons as in this pair of screens by Kanō Naonobu.

Kanō Naonobu was born in Kyoto and is the younger brother of Kano Tan’yu, the most famous and important Kanō school artist of the Edo period. Naonobu’s skill in using ink was praised over that of Tan’yū, but sadly Naonobu died at a young age.