Inaka No Tsuki is delightful series of 25 different creatures of field, forest, river, lake and sky.
The spirit and natural, animated movement of each creature in their habitat is skilfully captured by Bairei who uses a typically restrained palette to portray nature in its essential simplicity.
This is an antique, hand-crafted woodblock print from the original 1889 edition of “Inaka No Tsuki” published by Jihei Tanaka, Kyoto
The same print is also held in the collections of the British Museum and the V&A
About the Author
Kono Bairei was born in Kyoto in 1844 and unusually for a wood block artist trained as a classical Japanese painter in the the Maruyama and Shijo schools.
By the 1880’s Bairei had become one of the leading practitioners of the Ukiyo-e school devoted to pictures of birds and flowers (kacho-ga) and at this time had about 60 apprentices in his studio.
In 1893 Bairei became a member of the Art Committee of the Imperial Household and the following year was commissioned by the Imperial family to paint murals in the famous Buddhist temple Higashi Hongan-ji in Kyoto.
Bairei also co-founded the Kyoto Prefectural Painting School, the forerunner of today’s Kyoto University of Arts.