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Early 20th Century Japanese Framed Painting, White Peacocks on Silk and Gold



Kasahara Seiken White peacocks, circa 1916 Framed painting. Ink, color and gofun on silk. A Taisho period Japanese nihonga painting depicting a pair of white peacocks resting on an oak tree. Dazzling in appearance, their feathers glisten in the sunlight. The large leaves of the oak are slowly turning color as winter approaches. The scene appears to be bathed in a light courtesy of the shimmering golden background. The entire reverse side of the silk has been applied with gold leaf in a technique known as uruhaku. Much favored during the early decades of the 20th century, this elegant technique was a consequence of the growing use of silk, rather than paper, as a support for large scale paintings. Through painting on silk, the artists were able to achieve the immaculate brushwork and coloring that they aspired too, which in the past was more commonly limited to small scale hanging scrolls. Peacocks in traditional Japanese art have religious and auspicious symbolism. They are symbols of wisdom and said to have the power to steer the faithful away from evil. In Buddhist iconography, they are considered to be guardians from disaster and hardship. The traditional symbolism was transferred to modern images of the peacock as a symbol of success and general prosperity. This large painting is by an artist named Kasahara Seiken. Today little is known about the artist. Seiken must have achieved some level of importance as one of his paintings was exhibited at the 1916 Teiten exhibition; Japan’s most prestigious art exhibition. It was title ‘White Peacock’ and compositionally is very similar to the work being offered here. It would be fair to assume that the two works were painted at a similar time in the artist’s career. The silk painting is mounted on lightweight, archival board, the frame of roiro mirror-polished, rich burgundy lacquer. Conservation, mounting and framing was carried out in Kyoto utilizing traditional techniques and exceptional craftsmen.


  • Dimensions
    Height: 67.5 in. (171.45 cm)Width: 30 in. (76.2 cm)Depth: 1 in. (2.54 cm)
  • Style
    Taisho (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
    circa 1916
  • Condition
    Refinished. Wear consistent with age and use. Conservation, mounting and framing was carried out in Kyoto utilizing traditional techniques and craftsmen.
  • Seller Location
    Kyoto, JP
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU2472320725842

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    $650 In-Home Delivery Shipping
    to anywhere in the world, arrives in 9-11 days.
    We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Estimated Customs Duties & Taxes to the Continental US: $0.
    Ships From: Kyoto, Japan
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 10 days of delivery.

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About the Seller
5 / 5
Located in Kyoto, Japan
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Established in 2001
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36 sales on 1stDibs
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