Two Quails With Reeds, mid-18th century

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The Japanese have associated quail (uzura) with autumn since the 13th century when the famous courtier Fujiwara Teika (1162-1241) composed twenty-four poems using birds and flowers as seasonal images. For the quail, he reasoned that the bird's plaintive cry was out of sadness for the withered grasses of autumn. Later, artists of the Sumiyoshi School were inspired by classical poetry and literature. In this painting, Sumiyoshi Hirosada echoes Teika's poem by picturing a pair of quail beneath wind-swept grass. The poem above, although not by Teika, also conjures images of twilight falling over a lonely mountain village in autumn.

Details
Title
Two Quails With Reeds
Artist Life
1793 - 1862
Role
Artist
Accession Number
87.27.10
Curator Approved

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