Isoda Koryūsai
Gold Pheasant and Peony
c. 1770

chūban, 28.2 x 20.8 cm; nishiki-e with karazuri and musenzuri

The pheasant, in the Far East a symbol of literary acumen, refined taste and a successful civil service career, is a sign of good fortune and beauty here. The peony blossom, which was included as a blind pressing, stands for power and wealth. Koryūsai’s kachō-e indicate that he was emulating works in the style of the Kanō school. According to a Sotheby’s catalogue (London 1965), this is a high-quality reprint by Bunshichi Kobayashi from the late 19th century.

Provenance: Bunshichi Kobayashi; Philippe R. Stoclet (Sotheby’s, London, May 1965)
Riese Collection #31

In the words of the Sotheby’s catalogue, this is “A superb impression of one of Koryūsai’s finest bird-and-flower prints”. Bunshichi Kobayashi was an important publisher of woodblock prints and block-printed facsimile reproductions in the late 19th century. Kobayashi was also a fastidious and discriminating collector of Japanese prints and prints with his square seal on their reverse are always genuine and remarkable in some way.

Reproduced in J. Hillier, Japanese Colour Prints, p. 10.
Ingelheim catalogue, no. 32.
Riese, Asiatische Studien, 1972, p. 87, no. 13.