Japan School - Hen & Rooster

Japan School
Watercolors on rice paper mounted on board
19th century
25 ½" x 30" framed

Japanese long-tailed fowl have been breed by the Japanese aristocracy for over 350 years. Depictions of these Japanese roosters began to appear in Japanese art in the 1630s, near the time
when Japan closed its ports to outside trade. It is suggested that these roosters were brought to Japan by Dutch traders from Java, which was a Dutch colony, as depictions of long-tailed roosters appear in Dutch art of the same era. Breeding these exotic fowl is a hobby for many today.
The symbol of the rooster has some significance in Japanese culture. The use of animal symbol as
part of the zodiac, which originated in China, was adopted in Japan in 604. The Asian zodiac is
divided into 12 years, each named after an animal: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse,
sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and boar. People that are born in the same animal year are said to share
similar traits. Those born during the year of the rooster are said to be profound thinkers and
devoted to their work. These two exquisitely detailed Japanese watercolors of a rooster, hen and chicks was most likely created in the 19th century.