Our Art / Ohara Koson / Sparrows on a Nandin Bush

Sparrows on a Nandin Bush by Ohara Koson
Sparrows on a Nandin Bush by Ohara Koson

Sparrows on a Nandin Bush, 1945

Ohara Koson

Three sparrows perch on a nandina, or “Heavenly Bamboo” bush. The plant traces an elegant serpentine curve across the paper, covering the surface both vertically and horizontally, while its simple color scheme – bright green for the waxy leaves, soft white for the snow that partially covers them, and deep red for the berries – stands out against the pearl-gray, snow-flecked background. It’s a good thing the birds appear well-fed; nandina berries contain cyanide, toxic to birds. This print is a “kachoga,” a genre of art depicting birds and flowers shown together, as well as a traditional depiction of the essence of a season.

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
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