Artist: Ogata Kōrin 尾形光琳 (1658-1716)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, late 17th-early 18th century
Ink, color, gold, and silver on paper
H x W (each): 166 x 371 cm (65 3/8 x 146 1/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Screens (six-panel)

crane, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Previous Owner(s)

Oriental Art Gallery


Cranes, symbolic of longevity in East Asia, move in dignified procession toward the center of this pair of screens. Stylized water patterns in darkened tones of silver and blue occupy the upper corners of the screens. Gray cranes, native to eastern Siberia and Manchuria, migrate to Japan every winter.

The striking, unusual symmetry of these screen paintings is reflected in several similar paintings of cranes attributed to Ogata Korin and nineteenth-century painters of the Rimpa school. Korin, whose brother was the ceramic artist Ogata Kenzan (1663-1743), was the artist whose name was later adapted to designate the Rimpa School. The school's designs featured innovative ideas about design and materials. A native of Kyoto, Korin returned there in the final years of his life after spending several years in Edo (modern Tokyo) seeking new patrons. The style of these screens is associated with the large compositions of Korin's late years.

Published References
  • Zaigai Nihon no Shiho (Japanese Art : Selections from Western Collections). 10 vols., Tokyo, 1979 - 1980. pls. 77-79.
  • Chisawa Teiji. Korin. no. 53 Tokyo, October 1970. .
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Illustrated Catalogue of a Special Loan Exhibition of Art Treasures from Japan. Exh. cat. Tokyo. cat. 89a.
  • Creativity Within Tradition. p. 30.
  • Oriental Art Recently Acquired by American Museums. vol. 11 Honolulu. p. 90, fig. 14.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 132.
  • Peter Nosco. Individuality in Early Modern Japan: Thinking for Oneself. Routledge Research in Early Modern History New York, NY. pp. 140-141, fig. 8.1.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 48, p. 168.
  • Tori, cho, mushi. Kyoto. p. 187.
  • Milan Mihal. The Crane as Symbol and Subject in the Rimpa School. vol. 9, no. 5 Little Rock, AR, Spring 1980. pp. 196-201, figs.3-4.
  • Phaidon Editors, James Hanken, Nick Crumpton, Ross Piper. Animal: Exploring the Zoological World. New York, New York. p. 232-233.
  • Rinpa kaiga zenshu (Paintings of Rinpa). 5 vols., Tokyo, 1977-1980. p. 233, pls. 137-8, 178.
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.