Birds, flowers of the seasons, and civet cats

Historical period(s)
Muromachi or Momoyama period, 16th century
Ink, color, and imitation gold on paper
H x W (.178): 168.3 x 381.4 cm (66 1/4 x 150 3/16 in) H x W (.179): 168.1 x 381.3 cm (66 3/16 x 150 1/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Screens (six-panel)

civet cat, flower, Japan, Momoyama period (1573 - 1615), Muromachi period (1333 - 1573)

To 1901
Kano Oshima, New York to 1901 [1]

From 1901 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Kano Oshima in 1901 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Screens Reserved List, R. 4, pg. 1, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Kano Oshima (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


Japanese landscape screens often represent a sequence of four seasons from right to left, beginning with spring and ending with winter. This Japanese convention for representing a temporal sequence of seasons in an apparently unified spatial setting became established in large-format Japanese paintings by the late fifteenth century. While Japanese painters often incorporated birds and flowers-subjects adapted from Chinese art collected in Japan from the thirteenth century onward-into seasonal landscape painting, this pair of screens is somewhat unusual in its inclusion of exotic musk (civet) cats, known in Japanese as jakoneko.

Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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