Furuya Kōrin 古谷紅麟, Kōrin moyō 光琳模様, 1907

Furuya Kōrin 紅麟 (1875-1910)

Kōrin moyō 光琳模様

Volume 2 (of 2)

Publisher: Unsōdō, Kyoto

Meiji period (1868-1912), 1907

Woodblock printed book; ink and color on paper

25 x 18 cm


Kōrin moyō is another example of a pattern book produced in the late Meiji period. While the sleek style and naturalistic motifs of Art Nouveau are readily apparent in most zuan, pattern artists were also influenced by Rinpa style. A revival of this aesthetic in the Meiji period, led by Kamisaka Sekka, further modernized the already highly stylized Rinpa motifs, while still referencing classical Japanese literature and poetry. Furuya Kōrin, who studied with Sekka, took his name from Ogata Kōrin, from whom the name Rinpa is derived.

In Kōrin moyō, Furuya Kōrin demonstrates his mastery of common Rinpa motifs. In this opening he combines a depiction of a persimmon tree with grape vine and morning glories. In his design for many of the page spreads, he utilizes an upper register for a simple pattern that complements the lower more intricately printed scene. While it is not unusual for numerous patterns to be grouped together in zuan books, Kōrin works the space to his advantage and ours. The thoughtfully composed pages help slow the pace, allowing the viewer to reflect on the subtle relationships that emerge among the composition, color, and subject.

Catherine Gontarek

Selected Readings:

Carpenter, John T. 2012. Designing Nature: The Rinpa Aesthetic in Japanese Art. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Saunders, Rachel. 2008. “Patterns of Identity: Kimono Pattern Books in the Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.” Andon 83: 49–57.

Wood, Donald A., and Yuko Ikeda, eds. 2003. Kamisaka Sekka : Rinpa no keishō. Kyoto: Kyoto Kokuritsu Kindai Bijutsukan.