Six-panel folding screen from the exhibition "Samurai" Werldmuseum, Rotterdam
Exceptional Japanese folding screen, well preserved "Kayozu Rokkyaku Byobu"架鷹図六曲屏風 six-panel screen of Falcons on the perch, "Oshi e bari" (押絵貼) style, paintings mounted on screens on the gold leaf.
Falcons painted with intriguing postures in each panel with the details and lightness of the feather, depicting their characters as a hunter, alert and ready to move with great swiftness. The eye catching bold red cordons add power yet elegance to this painting and artistically balancing the structure of the painting with its empty space. The green cordon, different from other panels, is adding a sense of movement and perhaps a story to the screen.
Falcons loved by Samurai
Kayozu架鷹図, "Falcons on a perch", was one of the noble themes loved by the Samurai and Daimyo.
This works of art was one of the Japanese Samurai's belongings as well as Kabuto and Katana, representing their status and life, as it was shown during the exhibition "Samurai' at WerldMuseum, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Japanese folding screens, Byobu (屏風）were indispensable items at the residence of Shogun and Daimyo (federal lord).
Not only for the functional use, but also for the display of their power and noble status. They appointed and employed prestigious artists and let the artists paint with auspicious themes.
In Japan, since the ancient times, Falcon - "Taka" have been a symbol of braveness and strength and favored by the imperial family, aristocrats and later Samurai class. Falcon can be seen in works of art including family crests, motifs for boy's kimonos.
In Edo period it was painted as the form of "Kayo zu" and became a noble form of painting for Samurai class.
The technical term, Kayo zu, means Falcon on a perch. The falcons are tied to a perch (hook) with a cordon. The word Kayo is composed with 架(ka)=perch and 鷹(yo) =falcon
Three generations of Falcon painter, Hashimoto family
The Daimyo of Tsuruga, employed a group of painters depicting Falcons. They were largely influenced by Soga school of painters, specialized in "birds and flower" paintings.
Hashimoto Chobee 橋本長兵衛 of Tsuruga was known as official "Falcon" artist for the three generation, one of these skilled artists officially employed by the federal Lord (Daimyo) of Tsuruga. This works of art were made by the third of Hashimoto Senkei(1634-1703), a grand son of Hashimoto Chobei and a pupil of Kano Tanyu*狩野探幽.
Castles to Museums
As those screens were used and kept in castles and remarkably good condition and nowadays most were now kept in museums.
In Europe, Falcon screens are in the collection of Musse Guimet in Paris, Museum fur Ostasiatische Kunst in Berlin.
This was exhibited at 'Samurai' exhibition Werldmuseum, Rotterdam.
A truly wonderful works of art to be added to the art collection to represents "Life of Samurai".
NOTE: Kano school狩野派: one of the most famous schools in the history of Japanese art. Kano Tanyu 狩野探幽 was officially appointed and commissioned by Tokugawa Shogunate to produce large scale art works for their castles, such as Edo castle, Osaka castle, Nagoya castle.
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