Kōno Bairei (undated photo)
Kōno Bairei 幸野楳嶺 (1844-1895)
Sources: International Fine Print Dealers Association website http://www.printdealers.com/content/node/177 [not active 11-8-23]; The Samurai Archives SamuraiWiki http://wiki.samurai-archives.com/index.php?title=Kono_Bairei [not active 11-8-23] and as footnoted.
An American's Visit to Bairei's Studio
Today (August 8) I visited the artist Bairei to employ him to make a copy of a picture he had painted for Rokubei, the potter, illustrating the process of pottery-making. I found Mr. Bairei, who is a teacher, in the midst of a class of pupils, who were busy with their work, all on the floor with their copies in front of them , many of them being boys of twelve or younger. Some of the older pupils, he told me, had been with him for ten years. The pupils come at eight o'clock in the morning, leaving at noon in the summer and at 5 P.m. in the winter, every day except Sunday, which has lately become a holiday. The price of tuition is thirty cents a month, and the teacher supplies paper, brushes, ink, colors, etc. In three years the pupils learn to copy well. The first lessons consist of simple lines, diaper work, and the like. The next year they paint flowers; after that mountains and scenery; and finally figures, first drawing drapery, then the nude figure from life. Some of the pupils come from the artisan class, such as potters and others whose occupations demand designs or decoration; the other pupils come from the samurai class. Mr. Bairei has twenty pupils in his daily class, besides a few who practice at their houses and bring their work to him once a week for criticism. After an interesting interview I rose from my knees. All the pupils immediately bowed low, and at the same time Mr. Bairei presented me with a large roll of paper which consisted of the exercises of the school for that day: beautiful drawings in strong, vigorous brush strokes of flowers, fruit, and boats. These drawings illustrate better than all the descriptions the methods of teaching and the proficiency of the young Japanese.
I again visited Bairei's drawing-school and house, and for two hours enjoyed watching the deft way in which the pupils work. It seemed an awkward position to be down on the floor with knees bent under the body, yet Bairei told me that the pupils would hold this position for hours apparently without fatigue. The work consists in copying from other drawings. Much of the preliminary work is done by tracing and in every case a brush is used. The paper is not thin enough to see the drawing distinctly, and so it is lifted up at almost every . touch of the brush. The paper is held down by a paper-weight at the head of the sheet. In beginning, the brush is filled with the paint, a proper point is made by trying the brush on another sheet, and if there is too much paint it is sucked out of the brush at the base, so as not to spoil the point.
Bairei Hyakuchō Gafu and Hyakuchō Gafu Zokuhen
Source: Website of The Cowell-Thackray collection of Japanese prints and e-hon http://japaneseprints.wikispaces.com/Bairei%27s100+Birds [not active 11-8-23]and as footnoted.
Bairei Hyakuchō Gafu (Bairei's Album of One Hundred Birds) was first published in three volumes in 1881 by Ōkura Magobei and was followed by three additional (supplemental volumes) in 1884, under the title Bairei Hyakuchō Gafu, Zokuhen 楳嶺百鳥画譜 續編. The three volumes of each set were subtitled Sky (Ten 天); Earth (Chi 地) and People (Hito 人). The three supplemental volumes contained 83 woodblocks.
An Orthonologist's View
Sample Pages (reference only - not part of this collection) - Bairei Hyakuchō Gafu and Bairei Hyakuchō Gafu Zokuhan
Bairei Kachō Gafu
1 Beisen, eight year's younger than Bairei, was a student of Bairei's.
Seals of the Artist
Prints in Collection
[BELOW PRINTS GIFTED TO THE JORDAN SCHNITZER MUSEUM OF ART, UNIVERSITY OF OREGON]
click on thumbnail for print details