Kanō Yukinobu (attributed to), Bird and Flowers, a hanging scroll painting


British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

A bird rests on a branch of plum blossom. The colourful flowers and the twisting branch make for a decorative composition. Rather than any expressive purpose, or an attempt to depict nature accurately, the artist created an artificial space of decoration by arranging already determined motifs regularly across the surface. This approach was first seen in Chinese paintings of the Song dynasty (960-1278), but here it derives rather from a development of one element of bird-and-flower paintings of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). It was a very popular approach to composition with many Kanō painters in the early Edo period.

This attractive study is neither signed nor sealed. An old inscription on the box attributes the work to Kanō Yukinobu (worked late sixteenth century). Yukinobu was the much younger brother, and pupil, of Kanō Motonobu (1476-1559) and became a leading figure in the Kanō school during the Momoyama period (1568-1600) . He was known for his fine kachōga (bird and flower paintings). Though the present work cannot be attributed to Yukinobu with any certainty, it can be firmly placed within the established lineage of bird-and-flower paintings of the Kanō school of the late sixteenth or early seventeenth centuries.


  • Title: Kanō Yukinobu (attributed to), Bird and Flowers, a hanging scroll painting
  • Date Created: 1550/1650
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 37.10cm; Width: 59.40cm; Height: 127.00cm (mount); Width: 79.00cm (mount)
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: painted
  • Subject: bird and flower
  • Registration number: 1881,1210,0.1266
  • Production place: Painted in Japan
  • Producer: Attributed to Utanosuke, Kano
  • Period/culture: Muromachi Period; Momoyama Period; Edo Period
  • Material: paper
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Anderson, William

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