Boy on a Bull, late 19th century


Seated atop a mountainous bull, a young oxherd attempts to rein the animal in, but from the boy’s piteous expression it is clear that he is not in control. A handful of plum blossoms flutter to the ground near the feet of the bull, indicating that this painting is related to the Shintoist Tenjin cult. The bull was considered sacred in Tenjin worship and plum blossoms were favored by Sugawara Michizane, the cult’s patron deity.

Boy on a Bull
Artist Life
1819 - 1911
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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