gnarled plum branches with blossoms; black in and wash with "clouds" of gold spots

Three Friends of Winter [left of a pair], first half of 19th century

Not on Viewexpand_more

In East Asia, pine, bamboo, and plum are known as the “three friends of winter.” In addition to their individual auspicious connotations—chaste pine, upright bamboo, and pure plum—each of these three plants is also celebrated for remaining vigorous even during winter and adding color to an otherwise lifeless landscape. They thus represent the Confucian ideal of tenacity in spite of adversity.

Yamamoto Baiitsu’s paintings show his familiarity with the colorful, detailed mode of bird-and-flower painting popularized by Shen Nanpin (1682–1758), an influential Chinese painter briefly active in Japan. In this pair of screens, decorative qualities are balanced with a sense of order and clarity: the rough bark of the plum provides a textural foil to the blossoms, while the arching form of the pine is mirrored in the flow of the stream.

Three Friends of Winter [left of a pair]
Artist Life
1783 - 1856
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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gnarled plum branches with blossoms; black in and wash with "clouds" of gold spots