Kakunen Tsuruoka


Blue Bird and Blossoming Tree Peony

watercolor on textured brown paper, the stamen inside the flower highlighted in gold, with artist's square seal Kakunen, ca. 1920s

20 5/8 by 9 3/4 in., 52.4 by 24.9 cm

While Kakunen has often been described as a self-taught artist, his ability to paint on silk and his frequent use of the tarashikomi (a pooled ink technique associated with the Rinpa style of painting) as utilized here on the branches of the tree peony, suggest at least some instruction or guidance with traditional Japanese painting methods. The 'kaku' portion of his go is an alternate reading of the character for 'tsuru' (crane) in his family name. His choice of incorporating the character 'nen' in the second half of his go may have been a deliberate reference to the 'I'nen' seal employed by artist of the Rinpa School that specialized in kacho-e (bird and flower paintings), a favorite subject of Kakunen. However, this painting seems to demonstrate a deliberate exploration of Chinese-style painting of bird and flower subjects (huaniao hua), from which Japanese kacho-ga developed.

Estate of Haruno Tsuruoka (daughter-in-law of Tokutaro 'Kakunen' Tsuruoka)

price: $1,600


Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only

Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm for no more than two individuals at a time.
In order to adhere to New York State guidelines visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing.

site last updated
March 4, 2021

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475