KATSUSHIKA HOKUSAI 葛飾北斎, KYŌKA KUNIZUKUSHI 狂歌国尽, ca. 1810

Artists: Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾北斎 (1760-1849), Katsushika Ōi (ca. 1800-ca.1870) and others

Editor: Hasendō Yoboke 巴扇堂暮気 (?-1820)

Title: Kyōka kunizukushi 狂歌国尽 ‘Mad Verse’ of Selected Provinces

Date: ca. 1810

Medium: Woodblock printed, ink on paper

Gift of Arthur Tress, Arthur Tress Collection of Japanese Illustrated Books, Hokusai 43

Katsushika Ōi (応為) was one of the rare women artists to forge a career in Edo-period Japan. Like other women artists at the time, she was able to do so due to her family connections; in her case, she could work as a professional illustrator and painter because she was one of Hokusai’s daughters. She was trained in her father’s studio, often assisting in preparing materials and learning to draw alongside his other students. This book includes her first printed illustration, a scene of sailboats in the mist, and is signed “from the brush of the woman Ei” (using her personal name, Ei) on the right opening. She was likely only about ten years old at the time this was published.

This book is an anthology of poetry, edited by Hasendō Yoboke, with an opening illustration by Hokusai followed by those by fifteen of his students; Ōi is included in this grouping as equal to all. The poems that appear in each double-page opening were submitted and ranked by a group of leading poets; the judges’ ratings appear as a list of numbers between the poet’s name and the poem itself.

The concept of the anthology seems to have been for each poet to write a poem related to one of the provinces (called kuni in the period). Here, the poet Utanoya Mahagi (歌廼屋真萩) writes about the province of Enshū (now Shizuoka) and its famous site, Hamamatsu, located along the coastline and with rising mountains beyond. Hamamatsu was one of the fifty-three stations of the Tōkaidō road linking Edo to Kyoto; its name referred to the pine trees (matsu) that grew in the sand by the bay (hama). Period imagery often shows the motif of pines grown in sand and with the sea beyond to mark this famous place.

The poem starts on the upper right and proceeds to the left, then breaks to begin again in the lower register, from right to left. It puns on Enshū (as a distance province) as well as on Hamamatsu’s piney shore:

夏草のしけるる / 遠州 / はま松は
ひろい / やう / ても / せまい / 道野 /邉

And can be translated as:

Hamamatsu, in the distant province of Enshū,
grows thick with summer grasses and
with its pines on the shore
seem so vast yet
the road and fields so narrow

In this period poetry always included references to the season, as here in the summer grasses. The poet also plays with contrasts in the wide open space of the sea and the narrowness of road and fields skirting the terrain between dunes and mountains.

Ōi married one of Hokusai’s other students, Minamizawa Tōmei, in about 1824, but by 1827 she separated from her husband and returned to live with Hokusai, working alongside her father until his death in 1849. She assisted him with his many commissions during this period, perhaps even contributing to some of his most famous paintings, prints and illustrated books. After her father’s death, she worked as an independent artist until about 1870, making paintings and designing two illustrated books under her own signature.

Other collections:
British Museum

Selected reading:

John T. Carpenter, “The Literary Network: Private Commissions for Hokusai and His Circle,” in Designed for Pleasure: The World of Edo Japan in Prints and Paintings, 1680-1860, ed. by Julia Meech and Jane Oliver (New York, 2008), 143-68.

Julie Nelson Davis, “Hokusai and Ōi: Art runs in the Family,” British Museum blog (2017): https://blog.britishmuseum.org/hokusai-and-oi-keeping-it-in-the-family/

Kobayashi Tadashi, “The Floating World in light and shadow — Ukiyo-e paintings by Hokusai’s daughter Ōi,” Hokusai and his Age: Ukiyo-e Painting, Printmaking and Book Illustration in Late Edo Japan, translated and adapted by Julie Nelson Davis, edited by John T. Carpenter (Leiden, 2005), 92-103.

Kubota Kazuhiro. Hokusai musume, Ōi Eijo shū (Tokyo, 2015).

Posted by Julie Nelson Davis, March 14, 2022

KAWAMURA BUNPŌ 河村文鳳 , KINPAEN GAFU 金波園画譜 1820

Artist: Kawamura Bunpō 河村文鳳 (1779 – 1821)

Title: Kinpaen gafu 金波園画譜; Picture Album by Kimpaen

Date: 1820

Medium: Woodblock printed; ink and color illustrations on paper; paper covers

Publisher: Hishiya Magobē 菱屋孫兵衛

Gift of: Arthur Tress Collection. Box 8, Item 5; Arthur Tress Collection Box 62, Item 14
https://franklin.library.upenn.edu/catalog/FRANKLIN_9977502569803681#franklin-availability
https://franklin.library.upenn.edu/catalog/FRANKLIN_9977502838903681#franklin-availability

These are fine first edition copies of Kawamura Bunpō’s Kinpaen gafu, or “Kinpaen’s album of paintings,” in the genre of Chinese painting known as kachōga, or bird-and-flower-paintings.  Although this style of bird-and-flower painting originated in China in the tenth-century, Bunpō’s style in particular stems from the Chinese Jiezhiyuan hua zhuan 芥子園畫傳, or the Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden, printed during the early years of the Qing Dynasty in the seventeenth-century. The painting manual became well known throughout Japan during the Edo period, with the earliest illustrated woodblock copy published in Kyoto in 1748.  The publisher of these two volumes in the Kress Collection, Hishiya Magobē (Gosharō), “advertised Bunpō’s Kinpaen gafu alongside his own fine edition of Jiezhiyuan hua zhuan” along with “other titles relating to Chinese art and culture.”

Bunpō imitates the Chinese method of omitting the outlines of leaves and stems known as Mogu 沒骨, or the “boneless technique,” which relies instead on forms produced by the colors themselves, as opposed to dark, heavy outlines used in drawing.  As scholar Ellis Tinios has noted, “there are also many instances in which delicate colors subtly blend one into the other,” and “the play of the artist’s brush is rendered as more tightly controlled.”  These details are all the more impressive given that these editions of Bunpō’s albums were woodblock printed books that succeed in beautifully reproducing a color application technique associated with elite forms of Chinese painting.

Kinpaen gafu is the only one of Bunpō’s many album books that was printed using a wide array of light colors.  In both Tress Collection volumes, varying shades of yellow, green, pink, and red appear in abundance and are applied to Japanese mulberry paper. However, the chief remarkable difference between the two volumes lies in their overall application of the pigments themselves as they appear in each print. While the volume on the left features a heavier application of color which results in darker illustrations, the colors of the volume on the right are much more muted. Their printed application appears more delicate, as though the printing was performed with less ink, resulting in lighter washes of color which give the impression of a more understated palette of pigments. While Bunpō’s album was meant to instruct the aspiring painter in rendering sights and scenes from the natural world, these books could have been used to instruct the printer’s apprentice in the art of the application of color when printing with a woodblock.

Bunpō’s preface to the work is written in Chinese characters. In it, Bunpō “states that it does not matter whether the artist is Chinese or Japanese.”  Instead, “what is important is that the artist’s work possesses depth of feeling, skill in handling the material, and the ability to depict the essence of things.”  The same could be said regarding these beautifully colored prints: what is most important is not the “higher” art of painting or the “lower” art of print, but rather, the effects they produce in the eyes of the viewer.

Posted by Judith Weston

November 20, 2019

KAWAMURA BUNPŌ 河村文鳳, BUNPŌ SANSUI GAFU 文鳳山水画譜 (BUNPŌ’S ALBUM OF LANDSCAPE PAINTINGS), 1824

Artist: Kawamura Bunpō 河村文鳳 (1779 – 1821)

Title: 文鳳山水画譜 (Bunpō’s album of landscape paintings)

Date: Bunsei 7 (1824)

Medium: Woodblock print; ink and color on paper; paper cover.

Gift of Arthur Tress, Arthur Tress Collection Box 55, Item 20 (https://franklin.library.upenn.edu/catalog/FRANKLIN_9977502846003681)

Kawamura Bunpō 河村文鳳 (1779-1821) was a Japanese landscape painter of the late Edo Period, born in Yamashiro Province, in modern day Kyoto Prefecture. He was best known for his illustrations of Chinese style landscapes (sansui), as can be seen in other published works such as Bunpō gafu (1807). He was a student of the artist Ganku 岸駒 (1756-1839) According to a postscript in the book by Bunpō’s student Kawamura Kihō (1778–1852) Bunpō sansui gafu was compiled at the request of Bunpō’s publisher Yoshidaya Shinbē.[1] The work, which consists of thirty pages of landscapes of Chinese settings, also includes quotidian scenes of daily work and life as well as poems by the poet Rai San’yō. Fellow artist Tanomura Chikuden once praised Bunpō’s fluid lines and ability to draw human figures, while his landscape paintings are known for their use of heavy brush strokes and thick contours.

Bunpō sansui gafu shows a variety of Chinese landscape paintings, and the renderings of his brush lines to provide contour and depth is striking. Human figures are generally marginal or de-emphasized in the composition; when they do it appear, it is usually figures at work, leading horses or ox, riding down rivers on boats, or simply walking in pairs or alone down winding paths or snowy landscapes. Both summer and winter are depicted in the series, and scenes of towns covered in snow exemplify Bunpō’s dramatic use of dark contours and color. These elements are particularly notable in the British Museum’s copy of the work, which preserves the striking color contrasts and sharp lines characteristic of the art.

Ellis Tinios links Bunpō’s interest in a variety of styles of art, particularly Chinese style painting, to the artistic and literary conventions of early nineteenth-century Kyoto, in which a variety of influences were available. According to him, Bunpō was himself perceived as an unusually eclectic artist, with an 1850 account stating that “took from all schools to develop his own unique style.”[2] He had a wide variety of associates, including the writer Ueda Akinari (1734-1809) and the Confucian scholar and poet Rai San’yō (1780-1831). Alongside his landscape, Bunpō was known for his artistic compositions that were didactic in intent (gafu) and for readers interested in painting and composition. While Bunpō is not as well known today as similar landscape artists of his period, his versatility in a wide variety of artistic genres and styles and ability to move between different conventions can still be seen in his work.

Other information on this copy: The book has information possibly identifying the previous owner that says “Mikawa Province, Hazu-gun, Nishio Han, Tokuda Jirō, Dental Specialist” (三河幡豆郡西尾藩 徳田次郎歯専).

 

Citations

Ellis Tinios. Kawamura Bumpō: Artist of Two Worlds. Leeds, U.K: University Gallery Leeds, 2004.

Kobayashi Tadashi and Jun’ichi Ōkubo 小林忠 大久保純一. Ukiyo-e no kansh kihon chishiki 浮世     絵の鑑賞基礎知識[The fundamentals of appreciating Ukiyo-E] Tokyo: Shibundo, 1994.

Other Collections  

Pulverer Collection. Bunpō sansui gafu 文鳳山水画譜, Accession no. FSC-GR-780.284, https://pulverer.si.edu/node/421/title/1

Metropolitan Museum of Art. Bunpō sansui gafu 文鳳山水画譜, Accession no. 2013.662, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/78583?searchField=All&sortBy=Relevance&ft=Kawamura+Bunp%c5%8d&offset=0&rpp=20&pos=1

British Museum of Art Bunpō sansui gafu 文鳳山水画譜, no. 1959,0509,0.6.2 https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/A_1959-0509-0-6-2

[1] Ellis Tinios. Bunpō sansui gafu 文鳳山水画譜, FSC-GR-780.284 https://pulverer.si.edu/node/421/title/1

[2] Ellis Tinios. Kawamura Bumpō: Artist of Two Worlds. (Leeds UK: University Gallery Leeds, 2004): 10.

Posted by Patrick Carland

KAWAMURA KIHŌ 河村琦鳳,KIHŌ GAFU 琦鳳画譜, 1826-1827

Impression 8. 15, No. 19 (Figure 1)

Artist: Kawamura Kihō 河村琦鳳 (1778-1852)

Title Kihō’s Picture Album

Date: after 1826 (Bunsei 9)

Medium: Woodblock printed; ink and color on paper

Dimension: 25.9 x 17.8 x 1.1 cm

Publisher: Yoshida Shinbē 吉田新兵衛 (Bunchōdō 文徴堂)

Arthur Tress Collection, Box 8, Item 15

See digital images

https://franklin.library.upenn.edu/catalog/FRANKLIN_9977502575803681#franklin-availability

 

Impression 8.7, No. 31

Artist: Kawamura Kihō 河村琦鳳 (1778-1852)

Title Kihō’s Picture Album

Date: 1827 (Bunsei 10)

Medium: Woodblock printed; ink and color on paper

Dimension: 25.9 x 17.8 x 1.1 cm

Publisher: Yoshida Shinbē 吉田新兵衛  (Bunchōdō 文徴堂)

Arthur Tress Collection, Box 8, Item 7

https://franklin.library.upenn.edu/catalog/FRANKLIN_9977502569003681#franklin-availability

 

Impression 28.22, No. 12

Artist: Kawamura Kihō河村琦鳳 (1778-1852)

TitleKihō’s Picture Album

Date: after 1826 (Bunsei 9)

Medium: Woodblock printed; ink and color on paper

Dimension: 25.9 x 17.8 x 1.1 cm

Publisher: Yoshida Shinbē 吉田新兵衛 (Bunchōdō 文徴堂)

Arthur Tress Collection, Box 28, Item 22

https://franklin.library.upenn.edu/catalog/FRANKLIN_9977502739203681#franklin-availability

 

Kihō gafu, a picture album by Kawamura Kihō, contains 30 double-page illustrations of flowers, animals, rural landscapes, and human figures in everyday life scenes. Human figures are shown enjoying bucolic tranquility and revealing a free spirit. Subjects are depicted with ink lines in a calligraphic manner and embellished with lucid pale colors, evoking a Chinese painting style. In some illustrations, the artist abandoned the color-filling technique but applied colors directly to define the shape of the subjects, offering a painterly effect. Kihō gafu also features many inventive compositions, in which the single sheets not only stand as independent scenes but also can be unified as compelling double-page illustrations. In one opening, for example, a bough ascends from the right bottom corner in a diagonal way and traverses the central division into the opposite sheet, in which a little bird is shown hanging itself down from a branch and pecking the red fruits (fig. 1). The bough, rendered with powerful brushwork, is printed so skillfully that it looks like an ink painting, and the little bird is depicted in a delicate manner, balancing the boldness of the bough as well as its visual weight.

Kyoto-based artist Kawamura Kihō was the adopted son of Kawamura Bunpō. Kihō followed in the style of his teacher, Bunpō, adopting his distinctive approach to Chinese literati painting. Many of Kihō’s illustrations thus echo Bunpō’s designs. Kihō gafu was published by Yoshida Shinbē from his shop, the Bunchōdō文徴堂, located in Kyoto. The three titles in the Tress collection include different dates in the prefaces, postscripts, and colophons, demonstrating that these titles were produced over several years.  For example, in book 8.7, the preface includes a date of Bunsei 7 (1824), the postscript is dated Bunsei 9 (1826), and the colophon to Bunsei 10 (1827); thus, the earliest date we can give to this printing is 1827. The publication dates of the other two impressions in the collection are unknown, as they do not have colophon dates, but they cannot precede Bunsei 9 (1826) given the date of the postscript included in both impressions. The three impressions of Kihō gafu also display different color and shade patterns, signifying an alteration of color woodblocks in the course of reprinting. In comparison with other two copies, the impression 8.7 seems to have a more romanticized and naturalized palette, including a green color with a warmer tone, the skin color with a lighter orange hue, and the addition of rose pink. Further research will need to be conducted to understand more about what the differences in color and hue might indicate between these three impressions.

 

Other Impressions

The Gerhard Pulverer Collection, Freer Gallery of Art, Washington D.C

Smithsonian Libraries, Washington D.C

The Metropolitan Museum, New York, NY

The New York Public Library, New York, NY

The British Museum, London

 

Selected Reading

Hiller, Jack. Introduction to Japanese Prints: 300 Years of Albums and Books. London: British Museum Publications Ltd., 1980.

Tinios, Ellis. “Kawamura Bumpō: The Artist and his Books.” Print Quarterly, vol. 11, no. 3 (1994): 256-91.

 

 

Posted by Aria Diao

Nov. 14, 2019

KAWANABE KYŌSAI 河鍋暁斎, KYŌSAI HYAKKI GADAN 暁斎百鬼画談 (KYŌSAI’S PICTURES OF ONE HUNDRED DEMONS), 1889

Artist: Kawanabe Kyōsai 河鍋暁斎 (1831-1889)

Title: Kyōsai hyakki gadan 暁斎百鬼画談

Date of Publication: 1889, Publisher: Inokuchi Matsunosuke 井口松之助

Medium: Woodblock printed, gajōsō accordion-style, ink on paper.

Dimensions: 21.2 x 12.2 x 1.6 cm

Gift of: Tress, Arthur (donor) (Tress Collection copy)

Kislak Center for Special Collections – Arthur Tress Collection. Box 29, Item 16.

Kyōsai’s Hyakki gadan features many, or “one hundred,” ghosts (yōkai 妖怪) and monsters (bakemono 化け物). The yōkai are a class of supernatural monsters, spirits and demons in Japanese folklore. In addition to the folklore in Kyōsai’s Hyakki Gadan the history of the narrative is also an important element to Kyōsai’s work. This popular topic has many precedents, including the many illustrated books by Toriyama Sekien from the eightteenth century, with one of the earliest extant examples the painting by Tosa Mitsunobu from the 1500s.

The topic of these spectral figures was also part of the tradition of telling ghost stories, particularly enjoyed during the summer months. On some occasions, people would gather at dusk and tell ghost stories to each other, extinguishing a candle after each story would be completed. As each candle was blown out, it was thought that a yōkai would appear in the room. This is illustrated in Hyakki Gadan in the image where a man dressed in black is telling a scary tale to a group of people . Soon after the book shows a parade of yōkai and bakemono entering, shown moving across the page from the right to the left. At the end, the monsters run from the rising sun back to the underworld. For Kyōsai, the story is clearly about these monsters and the relationship they have with people. There is little to no background in the images. Thus, it pulls the reader into the “floating world.” This is a dream space, a place for stories, and a lack of background is disorienting yet places the reader into the appropriate space for the story to take place. This place is somewhere in the world of dreams, and the light at the end seems to wake the reader out of this world.

Other copies of the Book:

 Selected readings

  •  Jack Hillier, The Art of the Japanese Book, 2 vols. (London: Sotheby’s Publications by Philip Wilson Publishers, 1987), see esp. vol. 2, 938, 944.
  • Oikawa Shigeru, Commentary, Pulverer Collection: https://pulverer.si.edu/node/388/title/1
  • Hiroshige Utagawa 歌川広重, Fujimi Hyakuzu 無題 [富士見百図] (one hundred views of Mt. Fuji, 1859.
  • According to Oikawa Shigeru’s commentary, the red circle of the sun represents the fireball that emerges from a Buddhist dharana spell; see https://pulverer.si.edu/node/388/title/1 (accessed November 26, 2019).

Posted by Derek Rodenbeck

April 15th, 2020

 

KAWANABE KYŌSAI (河鍋暁斎), “NŌGA ZUSHIKI (能画図式),” 1867

Artist: 河鍋暁斎 Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831-1889)

Title: Nōga zushiki 能画図式

Date: 1867 (Keiō 3)

Medium: Full-color book print; ink and color on paper

Publisher: Kobayashi Bunshichi

Gift of Arthur Tress. Box 16, Item 16.

https://franklin.library.upenn.edu/catalog/FRANKLIN_9977502566803681

 

“Nōga zushiki” is a diagram illustration book of the Japanese Noh drama. Noh is a major traditional form of Japanese dance-drama developed in the 14th century. During the Edo Period, Noh was popular among the aristocrat class and was supported by the emperor and feudal lords. Compared to the popular dance-drama kabuki, Noh theater was reserved only for a small group of upper-class elites. This explains why Noh books like this one are much rarer to find compared to Kabuki books.

This book starts with a depiction of the play “Okina,” commonly recognized as the “Noh play yet isn’t.” It is traditionally considered as a sacred Shinto ritual in which the actors perform divine figures who dance for peace, prosperity, and safety across the land. During the Edo period, it was commonly performed at the start of a full day’s program. The first page of illustration ingeniously introduces the actor facing the left side, offering the men-bako (the mask box that contains masks used for performance) to start the play as the readers turn the pages. The next three pages then portray the ritual dance performance by Okina (the white-masked old man), Senzai (the young man), and Sanba-sō (the black-masked old man,) following the music of hand drums and Japanese flute performed in the background.

After the auspicious opening follows famous Noh plays including Takasago 高砂 (p. 9 – 11) written by Zeiami, Utsubozaru 靱猿 (p. ___), and so on. From each play, Tōiku selected scenes that capture the show and included famous scripts from the play, annotated with the roles on the upper left corners of the texts. The detailed and expressive facial depiction together with the dynamic and dramatic movement again demonstrates Tōiku’s superb talent.

Kawanabe Tōiku, later changed the name to the better known Kyōsai, was one of the most proliferates artists during the transition from the end of Edo to the early years of the Meiji Period. Studied for two years Ukiyo-e style painting under Utagawa Kuniyoshi, later received his artistic training from the Kano School, Kyōsai worked on an expansive range of subjects: this includes earlier works on Buddhism paintings, bird-and-flower paintings, and so on. He later on transitioned to work on print and book publication in the popular sphere and produced a large number of sketches, comic pictures, and albums.

Other copies of this book series:

Mitsui Memorial Museum, Tokyo

Selected Readings:

 

Posted by Yuqi Zhao

March 25th, 2020

KITAO MASAYOSHI 北尾政美, HYAKUNIN ISSHU / 百人一首, DATE UNKNOWN

Poem on right, as translated by the University of Virginia:Lady Ise

Even for a time
Short as a piece of the reeds
In Naniwa’s marsh,

We must never meet again:
Is this what you are asking me?

 

Artist: Kitao Masayoshi (Japanese, 1764–1824) (later adopted the name Kuwagata Keisai)

TitleHyakunin isshu

Date: Unknown, originally published ca. 1815

Medium: Woodblock print, 22.3 cm x 14.5 cm

Gift of Arthur Tress, Box 10, Item 16

Hyakunin isshu is based upon the classical poetry compilation Hyakunin isshu, or One hundred people, one poem (each), selected by Fujiwara no Teika in the twelfth century. This original compilation comprises of one hundred courtly poems spanning from the seventh century to Teika’s time, written in the style of the Japanese tanka, or waka, an early poetic form meaning “Japanese poetry” as opposed to Japanese poetry written in the Chinese language. In this way Hyakunin isshu represents the impulse to forge a distinctively Japanese poetic identity, separating courtly poems from their occasions to combine them into the singular aestheticized project we know today. From its conception in pre-modern Japan, Hyakunin isshu has since transformed from a material artifact into a historicized text that is reinterpreted and decontextualized time and again, much in the same manner of classical Western texts such as The Iliad and The Odyssey. Since the fifteenth century there are records of commentaries published alongside Hyakunin isshu, and, by Masayoshi’s time, Hyakunin Isshu had gained such accessibility and widespread appeal that it prompted almost every major ukiyo-e artist to try a hand at illustrating the poems, inspired the playing cards uta-garuta, and effectively blurred the line between “high” and “low” culture.

Kitao Masayoshi’s Hyakunin isshu stands out in two ways. First, in other impressions, the title includes the word tenarai (手習), which translates to practicing writing with a brush. The impression in the British Museum contains illustrations only, so that readers may take up the brush and add the poems themselves. Second, Masayoshi’s style is curiously simple: the spread of colors, marked by hard outlines, affirms its own stripped-down beauty. A pupil of Shigemasa, Masayoshi experimented with various styles throughout his lifetime, from a typical ukiyo-e style to an adaptation of the Chinese technique. As for Hyakunin isshu, Masayoshi chose a symbolic, representational style that stands directly in contrast to the highly realistic style of Western art at a time, evoking the heart of an abstract, classical time with a language of his own.

There are currently few known copies of Masayoshi’s Hykaunin Isshu. One is an unwritten version in the British Museum; another is a copy with handwritten poems up to the twenty-eighth page, formerly in the Odin collection. According to the NIJL catalogue, two additional copies are held in the Gifu Municipal Library; one of these is digitized and does not include writing. The other is listed as part of Nakano Mitsutoshi’s collection. Our copy is rare among known copies in that all the poems have been added in print. An elegant landscape illustration is furthermore found on the first page, unseen in the British Museum version, and the year of publication is unknown, making it a unique and much mysterious case.

Selected Readings

David Chibbett, The History of Japanese Printing and Book Illustration (New York: Kodansha International Ltd., 1977)

Earl Miner, An Introduction to Japanese Court Poetry (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1968).

Jack Hillier, The Art of the Japanese Book (London: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd., 1987).

Joshua S. Mostow, Pictures of the Heart: The Hyakunin Isshu in Word and Image (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i, 1996).

Posted by Kelly Liu, Fall semester, 2019

KŌNO BAIREI 幸野楳嶺, “BAIREI KIKU HYAKUSHU,” 梅嶺菊百種 CA. 1891-96

Artist: Kōno Bairei 幸野楳嶺 (1841 – 1895)

Title: Bairei kiku hyakushu 梅嶺菊百種

Date: Vol. 1: 1891 (Meiji 24); Vol. 2: 1892 (Meiji 25); Vol.3: 1896 (Meiji 29)

Medium: Woodblock printed; ink and color on paper

Publisher: Ōkura Magobē 大倉孫兵衛 (1843 – 1921)

Donor: Presented by Arthur Tress. Arthur Tress Collection, Box 11, Item 2 (Volumes 1 and 3); Box 23, Item 9 (Volume 2). https://franklin.library.upenn.edu/catalog/FRANKLIN_9977502562303681  https://franklin.library.upenn.edu/catalog/FRANKLIN_9977502745103681

Bairei kiku hyakushu 梅嶺菊百種 “Bairei’s One Hundred Varieties of Chrysanthemum’ is a three volume set designed by the artist Kōno Bairei. The volumes contain delicately printed chrysanthemum flowers framed in different contexts — from wild chrysanthemums blown awry by the wind, to dainty ones in the company of birds and insects. Each print is inscribed with the artist’s seal.

Kōno Bairei began his training at the age of eight with Nakajima Raishō (1796-1871), a Maruyama school artist, and later with Shiokawa Bunrin (1808-1877) of the Shijō school. He was well-known in the Meiji period for his ukiyo-e prints and paid special attention to pictures of birds and flowers (kachō-e). His pictures displayed a keen engagement with western realism and thus had a market in the West as well. In addition to his artistic prowess, Bairei is also known for his role in developing art education. Along with others such as Kubota Beisen (1852-1906) and Mochizuki Gyokusen (1834-1913), he established the Kyoto Prefectural Painting School in 1878. In 1886, he co-founded the Kyoto Young Painters Study Group with Kubota Beisen, with whom he also began the Kyoto Art Association in 1895.

The images displayed here are from volumes 1 and 3. The image on the right, from volume 3, is bursting with movement, heightened by the petals made wild by the wind. On the left, from volume 1, is a beautiful print presenting the iconic Mt. Fuji as a backdrop to Bairei’s chrysanthemums.

Other copies: Pulverer Collection, Freer Gallery of Art, Washington DC; British Museum, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Selected Readings:

 Hillier, Jack, The Art of the Japanese Book. London: Published for Sotheby’s Publications by Philip Wilson Publishers, New York, 1987, p.959-74.

Posted by Ayesha Sheth, Fall semester, 2019

MORI TETSUZAN 森徹山 ET AL., KAGETSUJŌ / 華月帖, 1836

 

Artist: Mori Tetsuzan 森徹山 (Japanese, 1775-1841) et al.
Author: Kagetsukanō Kirei
Date: 1836
Medium: Woodblock print, 27.7 cm x 15.8 cm
Publisher: Unknown
Gift of Arthur Tress, Box 17, Item 9

Kagetsujō, which literally translates to “Album of Flowers and Moon,” would be more correctly understood as “Kagetsu’s Album,” since Kagetsu (besides meaning flowers and moon) is also the name of the editor who compiled the volume. Kagetsujō comprises approximately fifteen illustrations created with sumi ink of various gradations, rendered into woodblock, which are composed by a number of artists and interspersed with occasional pages of text. Those illustrations, broadly speaking, fit under the genre of the shunga (“spring pictures”), or erotic art. According to the British Museum, Kireiken Toen, who went by the pen-name of Kagetsukano, was acquainted with many Japanese artists of the time and compiled the volume as a gift for a trip to Edo.

In certain early editions of Kagetsujō, a list of artist names appears at the end of the volume, revealing the true identities of those who signed their seals with pseudonyms. That list is not included in our edition. Many of the contributing artists follow the Shijō school, while other leaders of Kyoto schools are also represented. They include Kano Eigaku (Kanō school), Maruyama Ōshin (Maruyama/Shijō school), Mori Tetsuzan (Maruyama/Shijō school), and many more. Interestingly, this eclectic group converges in this volume in style, depicting erotic scenes in a slightly abstract, highly evocative style, a departure from the more detailed and colorful shunga illustrations by artists such as Hokusai. Printed with black sumi ink that fades in and out of focus, as well as an astute use of negative space to create form in the absence of color, the illustrations are rather emotionally charged. In fact, some of the illustrations are not explicitly or implicitly sexual, such as the image above.

It is understood that many of the artworks are based on previous shunga and scrolls. As scholar Jack Hillier points out, the print above, for instance, is reminiscent of seventeenth-century artwork by Moroshige. There are many other editions of this work around the world, such as in the British Museum, in the collection of Nakano Mitsutoshi, and in the Ebi Collection, Leeds (with a list of artists at the end of the volume).

Selected Readings

Jack Hillier, The Art of the Japanese Book (London: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd., 1987).

Nakano Mitsutoshi, “Kirei wakudeki,” in Edo kyōsha den (Tokyo, 2007), 439–493, 478–484.

Richard Lane, “Kagetsu-jō — A Shijō shunga album,” Ukiyo-e 65 (Spring 1976), 88–125.

Posted by Kelly Liu, Fall semester, 2019

NAKAJIMA TANJIRŌ 中嶋丹次郎, HINAGATA YADO NO UME 雛形宿之梅, 1730

 

Artist: Nakajima Tanjirō 中嶋丹次郎

Title: Hinagata yado no ume  雛形宿之梅(Pattern Book: The Plum Trees of Our Home)

Date: 1730

Medium: Woodblock print, black ink on paper.

Gift of Arthur Tress, Arthur Tress Collection Box 55 Item 9 (https://franklin.library.upenn.edu/catalog/FRANKLIN_9977502848103681)

 

After two pages of introductory text, this volume features thirty-six kimono designs. The designs range from simple black and white foliate patterns to elaborate imaginary landscapes replete with animals and dense vegetation. These designs continually reiterate motifs of the plum tree and plum blossom, an event associated with early spring. Accompanying the kimono designs are one to two lines of text. This text was rather flexible. It could describe the pattern, be used for an evocative excerpt of poetry, and in some cases dictate to the clothier certain techniques and tools that could best be used to render an elaborate design. Kimono pattern books, or Hinagata-bon, were working documents heavily used by both clothier and customer as cheap and quick reference material for the latest designs. However, the books could also be collected for sheer pleasure; certainly, there was something to be gained by simply perusing the newest styles for the year, ruminating on the elaborate patterns and staying current in the fast-moving world of Tokugawa period fashion.

Although Nakajima Tanjirō is listed as the primary artist of this work, the pages in this volume contain the signatures of three additional artists: Tagagi Kōsuke, Banryuken, and Himekiya Magobei. Additionally, it should be noted that the current edition is merely one volume of the collection; additional volumes could still further complicate an assumption of Nakajima Tanjirō’s authorship. Thus, it may be more appropriate to see these kimono pattern books as piecemeal assemblages that reflect, overall, the haute couture of the era, rather than single authoritative works.

Another copy of this book is at the Ryerson Library in the Art Institute of Chicago

 

Selected Reading

Hillier, Jack. The Art of the Japanese Book. Vol. 1. 2 vols. London: Sotheby’s, 1987.

 

Siffert, Betty Y. “‘Hinagata Bon’: The Art Institute of Chicago Collection of Kimono Pattern Books.” Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 18, no. 1 (1992): 86–103.

 

Simmons, Pauline. “Artist Designers of the Tokugawa Period.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 14, no. 6 (1956): 133–48.

 

Posted by Nick Purgett

May 10th, 2020