One Hundred Boys, Edo period (1615–1868), 17th century
Kano Eino (Japanese, 1631–1697)
Pair of six–panel folding screens; ink, color, and gold on paper; each 3 ft. 8 7/8 in. x 9 ft. 3 in. (1.1. x 2.8 m)
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, Mary and James G. Wallach Foundation Gift, Gift of Dr. Mortimer D. Sackler, Theresa Sackler and Family, and Dodge Fund, 2009 (2009.260.1,2)
Kano Eino succeeded his father, Sansetsu, as the third head of the Kyoto-based branch of the preeminent Kano family workshop. The House of Kano served as official painters to the imperial and military elite for more than four centuries. In addition to excelling in the family style, Eino is widely known as the author of History of Painting in This Realm (Honcho gashi), the first major history of painting written in Japan. His text, based on drafts by his father, was heavily influenced by Chinese histories of the subject, reflecting a continental bias that is also evident in his and other Kano artists' paintings. While the felicitous theme of these handsome small-format screens, One Hundred Boys, first appeared in China during the Song dynasty (960–1279), they are indebted to prototypes from the later Ming dynasty (1368–1644), when the subject also appeared widely on ceramics and other decorative arts objects. The detail, variety, and sheer number of figures, executed in fine-quality pigments, indicate that the family who commissioned these screens was aristocratic. The signatures and red intaglio seals appearing in the corners of the screens read, respectively, "painted by Kano Nuidonosuke Eino" and "Sansei."