A Six-Fold Screen with Cranes and Pine
Anonymous, Edo period (18th century)
Ink, colour and gold leaf on paper, with a flock of cranes and young pine in a river landscape
107 x 273cm. (when open)
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Lot Essay

The crane is one of the most prominent symbols of longevity and good fortune in Asia. For at least two millennia, the Chinese have viewed them as living to a great age and as being able to navigate between heaven and earth. In turn, these attributes have made them logical companions of sennin, the Taoist Immortals. In Taoist thought and art, the crane is often paired with the tortoise, another symbol of longevity.

The red-crowned, or Japanese, crane depicted in this painting is said to live for 1,000 years. The other crane depicted here is the white-naped crane, which migrates yearly to its wintering grounds in Southern Japan.

Pine is an auspicious symbol in Japan, representing longevity due to its long life, and endurance as it remains green throughout the winter months. The small pine trees depicted in this painting introduce a freshness and liveliness which complements the spirited movements of the cranes.

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