Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Rosetsu, like his teacher Maruyama Ōkyo (1733–1795), painted an enormous range of subjects for a variety of patrons. In The Parrot King, a diverse flock of birds, including bush warblers, java sparrows, and mynahs, chatters on the lower branches while a single scarlet parakeet perches disinterestedly above. The composition adapts a Chinese painting theme known as "one hundred birds," paying witty homage to the phoenix that typically appears by substituting the mythical bird with a highly realistic depiction of a parakeet. In the 18th century, parakeets were imported to Japan from Southeast Asia as exotic curiosities, and both Rosetsu and Ōkyo painted them from life.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Nagasawa Rosetsu, Japanese (1754 - 1799)
The Parrot King
Work Type
painting, hanging scroll
c. 1787–95
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Edo period, 1615-1868
Persistent Link
Level 3, Room 3610, University Teaching Gallery
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
painting proper: H. 144.9 × W. 55.1 cm (57 1/16 × 21 11/16 in.)
overall mounting, including roller ends and suspension cord: H. 244.5 × W. 77 cm (96 1/4 × 30 5/16 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
Publication History

The Flowering of Edo Period Painting: Japanese Masterworks from the Feinberg Collection, exh. cat., Yomiuri Shinbunsha (Tokyo, 2013), p. 138, cat. 67

Musée Cernuschi, Le Japon au fil des saisons: Collection Robert et Betsy Feinberg, exh. cat., Paris-Musées (Paris, 2014), pp. 100-101

Rachel Saunders and Yukio Lippit, Painting Edo: Selections from the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art, exh. cat. (Cambridge, MA, 2020), p. 76, fig. 64

Exhibition History

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

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

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

Related Articles

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