Frolic at the Water’s Edge

Artist: Kanō Chikanobu 狩野周信 (1660-1728)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, late 17th-early 18th century
Ink, color, and gold on paper
H x W: 176 x 381.9 cm (69 5/16 x 150 3/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Screen (six-panel)

boat, cloud, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, tree, ukiyo-e
Provenance research underway.

Paintings detailing the pleasures of seasonal outdoor parties were particularly common in the seventeenth century. Here, the relaxed activities of Buddhist clerics are one of several such scenes in which a cross section of the general population is observed at leisure. This painting is rare by virtue of its singular focus on male merriment and by its depiction of a social reality in seventeenth-century Japan, that is, an operative presumption of homosexual interest in the religious and military classes.
The entertainment provided by dwarf sumo wrestlers at the far left probably chronicles yet another oddity available for the amusement of the revelers.

Published References
  • Harold P. Stern. Ukiyo-e Painting: Freer Gallery of Art Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition. Exh. cat. Washington and Baltimore, 1973. cat. 13, pp. 32-33.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.