Artist: Kamisaka Sekka
Title: Chō senshu, “One Thousand Butterflies”
Description: 1 of 2 volumes
Medium: Woodblock printed, multiple colors on paper
Format: hanshibon; gajōsō binding; printed on one side, accordion fold
Dimensions: 25 x 18.1 x 1.7 cm
Gift of Arthur Tress
Chō senshu is a prime example of Kamisaka Sekka’s ability to explore a traditional theme through design. From representational to abstract, a series of printed butterflies are brought to life with Sekka’s experiments in shape, color, and composition.
Sekka was one of the last great masters of the Rinpa style of painting, who applied his artistry to the modern period’s burgeoning field of design. As a designer, educator, and leader in the arts community of Kyoto, he dedicated his life to elevating the decorative arts to the status of fine art.
Sekka’s training as a painter and skill as a designer is evident in his woodblock printed books and varied crafts such as ceramics, lacquered boxes, wall panels, and textiles. He deftly integrated a modern sensibility with his commitment to the traditional ideals of the Rinpa style.
 Kanzaka Sekka, Yūko Ikeda, and Donald Alan Wood. Kanzaka Sekka : Rinpa No Keishō = Kamisaka Sekka : Rimpa Master. [Kyoto]: Kyōto Kokuritsu Kindai Bijutsukan, 2003.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Wilmington University Library
Princeton University Library
Yale University Library
East Carolina University, Health Science Library
Duke University Libraries
Cleveland Public Library
Berry College Memorial Library
Simpson University Library
The British Library, St. Pancras
Kanzaka Sekka: Rinpa No Keishō = Kamisaka Sekka: Rimpa Master. Kanzaka Sekka, Yūko Ikeda, and Donald Alan Wood. [Kyoto]: Kyōto Kokuritsu Kindai Bijutsukan, 2003.
The Art of the Japanese Book. Hillier, J. and Langley Iddins. London: Sotheby’s Publications, 1987.
Posted by Catherine Gontarek
November 21, 2019