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Yamamoto Baiitsu, 1783-1856
Birds and Flowers
Ink and color on paper

The paintings of bunjinga artists working in the nineteenth century tended to be more technically advanced than those of their eighteenth-century predecessors. This was partly because later artists had access to more Chinese originals. Baiitsu was one of the most accomplished painters of this later group. His knowledge of Chinese styles was exceptional, as was his technique. His compositions are often subtly balanced, and this album reveals Baiitsu's considerable proficiency with color.

Kachôga, or "flower and bird paintings," have a long history in Japanese painting. Seasonality, which was often communicated symbolically by specific flowers and grasses, was also an important aspect of poetic expression. Many flower and bird subjects were considered auspicious in and of themselves, while others were linked to specific emotional sentiments. This is particularly the case with the Tale of Genji narrative and its representative illustrations, on display in the next gallery. For most bunjinga artists, however, the symbolic attributes of flowers and birds were less important than the opportunity these subjects offered for a display of skill.

Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The William A. Whitaker Foundation Art Fund; 82.10.1

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Copyright (c) 2000, Mayumi Ishida, All Rights Reserved Last Updated: April 11, 2000