Francolin and Chrusanthemum, c. 1860

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Francolins, or shako in Japanese, are often confused with partridges, their smaller cousins. The Japanese associate both birds with autumn, since they can be seen in the fields as the grain ripens. Francolins however, were regarded as more poetic than partridges because of their long-standing association with Chinese verse. Their melancholic cry to the Chinese ear sounds like "Don't go there, my dear," which can be interpreted as a desperate warning to a loved one. The Japanese adopted this poetic allusion and it appears in the first verse on this print. Yoshikawa Shøkoku, who excelled at depicting birds and flowers, renders the francolin with its characteristic yellowish brown feathers ----useful camouflage amid autumn grass but not against red chrysanthemums.

Francolin and Chrusanthemum
Artist Life
fl. c.1860
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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