attributed to Kono Bairei, 1844-1895
Album of Watercolors related to 'One Thousand Kinds of Flowers'
(Chigusa no hana)
string-bound album; with brushed sumi ink title on the cover Chigusa no hana, with 156 pages with watercolor, of which 44 pages form 22 diptychs, ca. 1890
9 5/8 by 6 1/4 in., 24.3 by 16 cm
The artist Kono Bairei was a student of Nakajima Raisho of the Maruyama school and Shiokawa Bunrin of the shijo School. Bairei lived in Kyoto and was one of the most well-known Maruyama-Shijo school artists of his time. He was famous for sekijo (impromptu sketching) and counted among his pupils Takeuchi Seiho, Taniguchi Kokyo, Kikuchi Hobun, Shimizu Rokusho, Uemura Shoen, Kawai Gyokudo, Kosaka Gajin Tsuji Kako and Kono Seiko. Bairei was particularly appreciated for his paintings of kacho-ga (bird and flower) subjects in the Shijo style with some Western influence.
This album of watercolors relates to one of his many published ehon featuring natural subjects, Chigusa no hana, which was published in four volumes by Tanaka Jihei in 1890-91. According to C.H. Mitchell's collation, the four volumes together included 200 illustrations (50 in each ehon), whereas this album includes 112 single-page illustrations and 44 double-page illustrations forming 22 diptychs.
C.H. Mitchell, The Illustrated Books of the Nanga, Maruyama, Shijo and other Related Schools of Japan, A Biobiliography, 1972, p. 14 (on Bairei) and p. 234 (on Chigusa no hana)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accession no. 1997.310.1-4
Columbia University Libraries ND1059.K66 A4 1905
(inv. no. C-1771)
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