shichou-zu 鷲鳥図
KEY WORD :  art history / paintings
Ch: jiuniaotu. Lit. pictures of eagles and hawks. A painting subject that features eagles and hawks but may include many other birds of prey. Shichou-zu fall into two categories. First are paintings, often included under the category of portraiture, shouzouga 肖像画, that depict the birds perched on the hands or shoulders of handlers who were notable warriors, or in paintings of falcon hunting *takagari 鷹狩. Second are paintings that feature highly naturalistic renderings of the birds perhaps based on life-sketches, usually depicted perched on tree branches or, particularly in the Momoyama period, placed in a wild setting, either in flight or catching small animals or birds. These fierce paintings of hawks and falcons express the self-image of the samurai 侍 patrons who esteemed the birds fighting prowess and determination. Shichou-zu were the speciality of Soga school *Sogaha 曽我派 painters, a famous example being the pair of screens by Soga Nichokuan 曽我二直庵 (act. ca 1625-60; Tokyo National Museum). Notable paintings on the theme were also produced by Sesson Shuukei 雪村周継 (1504?-1590?; Tokyo National Museum) and Kanou Sanraku 狩野山楽 (1559-1635; Nishimura 西村 Collection, Shiga prefecture).


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