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White Heron and Lotus

One of a triptych with Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2002-193-1 and 2002-199-2

Kano Naonobu, Japanese, 1607 - 1650

Made in Japan, Asia

Edo Period (1615-1868)

First half of 17th century

Ink on paper; mounted as one of a triptych of hanging scrolls

37 5/8 × 11 5/8 inches (95.6 × 29.5 cm) Mount: 69 3/4 × 16 5/16 inches (177.2 × 41.4 cm)

Curatorial Department:
East Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the Henry B. Keep Fund, 2002

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Among the different white birds in East Asian countries, the white heron was considered one of the whitest. Thus it came to be a symbol of purity, as is the lotus. In China, herons were also a symbol of good fortune because "heron" (lu) and "good fortune" (lu) are pronounced the same, and in Japan the bird became one of the most popular subjects from the Muromachi period (1392-1573) onward. The triptych style developed in Chinese Buddhist art places a religious painting in the center and a pair of "flowers and birds" paintings such as this one on either side.