Folding screens, invented by the Chinese to avert drafts and prying eyes, became an important format for Japanese painters. This expansive pair of screens begins with the masterful arrangement of Manchurian cranes among water reeds. Every major master in the Rimpa school executed at least one painting of the “thousand cranes,” symbols of longevity. Kiitsu is often considered the last great master of the Rimpa school. His satisfying balance of realism and the decorative application of touches of red, green, and blue within a predominantly monochrome palette on a shimmering gold ground make this one of his most popular and exemplary works.
Artist Suzuki Kiitsu, Japanese, 1796-1858
  • Reeds and Cranes
Date 19th century
Medium six-panel folding screen; color paint and gold on silk
Dimensions Overall (fully open): 69 7/8 × 145 1/4 inches (177.5 cm × 3 m 68.9 cm)
Installed (with 40" wide angles): 69 7/8 × 122 × 15 inches (177.5 × 309.9 × 38.1 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase with funds from the Gerald W. Chamberlin Foundation, Inc., Mr. and Mrs. Charles M. Endicott, Mrs. Howard J. Stoddard, Mr. Howard P. Stoddard, and Mr. and Mrs. Stanford C. Stoddard
Accession Number 79.28.1
Department Asian Art
Not On View
Marks Stamp, in red, lower right: [seal]
Inscriptions Inscribed, lower right
(Klaus F. Naumann, Tokyo, Japan);
1979-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Yamane, Y., and Tsuji, N. Rimpa Kaiga Zenshu 5. Tokyo, 1978, no. 130 (ill. plates 145, 167-169).

"Family Art Game," DIA Advertising Supplement. Detroit News, April 29, 1984, p. 14 (ill.).

"Family Art Game," DIA Advertising Supplement. Detroit News, April 14, 1985, p. 14 (ill.).

100 Masterworks from the Detroit Institute of Arts. New York, 1985, p. 62, p. 63 (ill.).

Mitchell, S.W. "The Asian Collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts." Orientations 13, no. 5 (May 1982): pp. 14-36, fig. 13a.

Emura, Tomoko. “Rinpa Artists and the Samurai Class.” Bulletin of the DIA 88, no. 1/4 (2014): pp. 80, 84 (figs. 16-18).