Exquisite pair of tall six-panel 18th-century byôbu

Price on request

An exquisite pair of tall six-panel 18th-century byôbu 屏風 (folding screens) with refined paintings on gold-leaf showcasing a dog-chasing event 犬追物 (Inuoumono).

The artwork captures a lively spectacle where horse-mounted archers pursue many different dogs, aiming soft padded arrows at them, as a crowd of samurai class spectators, street vendors, and entertainers look on from beyond a fenced area.

Shooting dogs from horseback was a form of samurai training that began in the Muromachi period (1392–1573). During the peaceful 1600s this activity was revived as a samurai sporting event that attracted many spectators. As a sport, dog chasing involved two teams of seventeen participants each. The riders used softly padded arrows in order not to seriously hurt the dog, which was released within a circle of rope to begin the game. A strike on the dog‘s torso scored points; strikes on the head or legs did not count. The winning team usually received prizes of lengths of white silk cloth. The present screen shows the game in progress, with the judges sitting in the building at the left of the field.

The games are set amidst a setting of curving maple- and pine trees on one screen, and blooming cherry- and pine trees on the other, showing it as a game of all seasons.

In the midst of the entertaining festivities, many small scenes take place, giving something new to see each time.

The scenes rendered with ink and vibrant watercolours encompassed by dense gold-leaf clouds. Mounted by two brocade silk borders, a thin ecru-gold one, and a broad light and dark gold one. Framed with dark red lacquered wood equipped with ornate protective gilt-metal hardware with a design of intricate blossoming flowers and foliate scroll.

Provenance: From the collection of L. Harrison Bernbaum, Chicago, Illinois, USA. L. Harrison Bernbaum is a Chicago businessman who co-founded the outdoor company High Sierra with his father Harry Bernbaum (1917-2015), who had been one of the first American businessmen to travel to Japan in 1956, helping to pioneer manufacturing relationships between America and Japan for the American sporting goods industry.

Period: Japan – 18th century (Edo period).

Total width both screens 752 cm.
Width single screen 376 cm (2 x 64 cm, and 4 x 62 cm), Height 171.9 cm.

In a very good condition with minor wear and little soiling, some expected tears and creases, the wood screen with minor nicks and scratches and some old repairs. Please have a look at the photos for a clear condition reference.

The folding screens are ideal for mounting flat on a wall and presenting as a single work of art.
When shipped we will add a certificate of authenticity.

Ref. No. : N2656+N2657


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