Two Dragons (in Clouds)

Kano Hōgai, Japanese, 1828 - 1888

Made in Japan, Asia

Meiji Period (1868-1912)


Ink on paper, framed

35 1/2 x 53 1/4 inches (90.2 x 135.3 cm)

Curatorial Department:
East Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Moncure Biddle in memory of her father, Ernest F. Fenollosa, 1940

A replica of this work is featured in Inside Out, a series of outdoor exhibitions throughout the region.


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Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    This highly naturalistic rendering of two intertwining dragons glistening amidst the clouds represents a bold experiment in adapting Western techniques to traditional Japanese ink painting. Kanö Högai derived the sense of depth and three-dimensional perspective seen here from the Western oil paintings that were newly introduced in late nineteenth-century Japan, while the subtle gradations of ink tones and calligraphic clarity of the lines reflect his training in Japanese brush painting. The subject of dragons was a popular one in Japanese painting, but the combination of an adult with a young dragon is unusual and may have been inspired by the mother and child theme that Högai was using in his Buddhist paintings, which in turn were based on Western depictions of the Madonna and Child. This dramatic, large-scale work was painted for Högai's friend and patron Ernest F. Fenollosa, an American who encouraged the revival of the Kanö school of Japanese artists in the late nineteenth century. It is one of an important group of works from Fenollosa's collection now owned by the Museum. Felice Fischer, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 47.