Autumn Grasses and Sparrows

Nakabayashi ChikkeiLate Edo Period (latter half of 19th century)

Iwami Art Museum

Iwami Art Museum

This is a typical floral composition depicting roses, sunset hibiscus, chrysanthemums, Asiatic dayflowers, etc. with three sparrows playing below. The flowers have been rendered without using outlines to create a delicate freshness while the strangely-shaped rocks in the composition are typical of the Chinese bunjinga (literati painting) style, indicating the influence of Chikkei’s father and teacher NAKABAYASHI Chikuto or YAMAMOTO Baiitsu. The detail with which he depicts the sparrows’ feathers and claws demonstrate a leaning towards realism that seems to indicate that he had studied the Maruyama Shijo style. Chikkei is well-known for his landscapes and shinkeizu (naturalistic views). Motifs of birds and flowers like this one are rare but demonstrate the wide range of subjects he used. Born in Kyoto, the son of Chikuto, a famous bunjinga artist, he also used the names Seigyo, Shofu or Yusetsu and studied painting under his father’s friend, Baiitsu. In addition, he studied the Yamato-e, Maruyama Shijo and Nanbin schools, producing works in a wide range of styles including landscapes, shinkeizu, Chinese figures and birds and flowers. We can tell from the signature and the seal that has been used on this work that it was produced sometime after about 1848 when Chikkei was in his late thirties to early forties.

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  • Title: Autumn Grasses and Sparrows
  • Creator: NAKABAYASHI Chikkei
  • Date: Late Edo Period (latter half of 19th century)
  • Physical Dimensions: w52.6 x h112.8 cm
  • Type: Hanging scroll, color on silk


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