Kiku Hyakushu (One Hundred Chrysanthemums) is a beautiful work, with imaginative compositions of flowers, landscape and birds exquisitely printed in restrained colours.
Although one of his rarer works, it is without doubt one of his best.
This is an antique, hand-crafted woodblock print from the original 1891 edition of “Kiku Hyakushu” published by Okura Magobei, Tokyo
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.