right screen Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

The sublime simplicity of the supple necks and luxuriant feathers of this group of cranes is complemented by the tangle of angular legs at ground level. A patch of water bridges the gap between the two screens, compelling unification in the mind’s eye. As the birds call to and gaze at each other in the shallow pictorial space, their body language echoes the distinctive coiled ripples inked on the azurite water. Although iconic in its own right, Kiitsu’s painting also self-consciously extends an emblem of the School of Kōrin by creatively reprising a crane painting by his master, Sakai Hōitsu (1761– 1828). Hōitsu’s painting itself was a reworking of a magnificent pair of crane screens by Ogata Kōrin (1658–1716).

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Suzuki Kiitsu, Japanese (Omi Province 1796 - 1858)
Work Type
screen, painting
c. 1820–25
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Edo period, 1615-1868
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Pair of two-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gold on paper
image only: H. 164.8 x W. 175 cm (64 7/8 x 68 7/8 in.)
with mount: H. 178 x W. 188.4 cm (70 1/16 x 74 3/16 in.)
one screen opened at about 160-degree angle: W. 180.3 cm (71 in.)
both screens opened at about 160-degree angle: W. 368.3 cm (145 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: left edge of left screen: Kiitsu Taichū hitsu
  • seal: left edge of left screen: Joun
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Publication History

Yamane Yūzō, Nihon kaigashi zuten (Tokyo, Japan, 1987), p. 394

Kobayashi Tadashi, Rinpa [Rimpa Paintings] vol. III : Landscape, Birds and Animals, Shikosha Publishing Co. (Kyoto, Japan, 1991), plate 107

Kobayashi Tadashi, Hoitsu and Edo Rimpa, Nihon no Bijutsu (Tokyo, Japan, November 2004), 463, illus. #107

Matthew McKelway, Kobayashi Tadashi, and Yasumura Toshinobu, Silver Wind: The Arts of Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1828), exh. cat., Japan Society (New York, 2012), pp. 94-95, cat. 19

The Flowering of Edo Period Painting: Japanese Masterworks from the Feinberg Collection, exh. cat., Yomiuri Shinbunsha (Tokyo, 2013), pp. 50-51, cat. 10

Musée Cernuschi, Le Japon au fil des saisons: Collection Robert et Betsy Feinberg, exh. cat., Paris-Musées (Paris, 2014), pp. 74-77

Emma Giuliani, Quatre saisons au Japon: Un livre anime, Musée Cernuschi (Paris, 2014)

Suntory Museum of Art, Himeji City Museum of Art, and Hosomi Art Museum, ed., Suzuki Kiitsu: Standard-bearer of the Edo Rimpa School, exh. cat., Yomiuri Shinbunsha (Tokyo, 2016-2017), pp. 46-47 and p. 274, cat. 32

Yukio Lippit, "An Interview with Japanese Painting Collectors Robert and Betsy Feinberg", Orientations, Orientations Magazine (Hong Kong, January/February 2020), vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 34-43, p. 36, figs. 3a and b

Rachel Saunders and Yukio Lippit, Painting Edo: Selections from the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art, exh. cat. (Cambridge, MA, 2020), pp. 46-47, fig. 35

Exhibition History

The Collector's Eye: Japanese Art Lent by Friends of the Japan Society Gallery, Japan Society, New York, 05/11/1989 - 06/25/1989

Rimpa: Succession of Beauty: Sotatsu, Korin, Hoitsu, Nagoya City Art Museum, Nagoya, 04/23/2004 - 05/22/2004

Treasures of Rinpa Masters: Inheritance and Innovation, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, 10/07/2008 - 11/16/2008

Silver Wind: the Arts of Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1828), Japan Society, New York, 09/29/2012 - 01/06/2013

The Flowering of Edo Period Painting: Japanese Masterworks from the Feinberg Collection, Tokyo Metropolitan Edo-Tokyo Museum, 05/21/2013 - 07/15/2013; Miho Museum, 07/20/2013 - 08/18/2013; Tottori Prefectural Museum, 10/05/2013 - 11/10/2013

32Q: 2600 East Asian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 12/03/2015 - 06/07/2016

Suzuki Kiitsu: Standard-bearer of the Edo Rimpa School, Suntory Museum of Art, Tokyo, 09/10/2016 - 10/30/2016; Himeji City Museum of Art, 11/12/2016 - 12/25/2016; Hosomi Art Museum, Kyoto, 01/03/2017 - 02/19/2017

Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/14/2020 - 07/18/2021

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

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This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu