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Aigai (1796-1868)
Rocks
1830-40
Ink and color on paper

Chinese woodblock-printed books, such as the Mustard-Seed Garden Painting Manual, provided most of the early Japanese bunjinga painters with their first introduction to the aesthetics of this style. Printed illustrations were no substitute for authentic paintings, but they were instructive in their own ways. These manuals often contained numerous illustrations of motifs, such as rocks or trees rendered in many ways to demonstrate the wide variety of brushstrokes bunjinga artists used. Aigai used the album format in a manner similar to printed painting manuals to display his knowledge of brushstrokes. Each page depicts a single rock rendered in a unique combination of colored washes and texture strokes.

Aigai acquired his knowledge of brushstrokes and styles through a lifetime of extensive travel and study. He worked in both Edo and Kyoto, where he had the opportunity to examine collections of Chinese paintings and the works of numerous Japanese bunjinga artists. Aigai also studied with Tani Bunchô, whose Snow-covered Tree is in this gallery, and Aigai's works often exhibit his teacher's eclectic tendencies.

Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ackland Fund; Gift of Ruth and Sherman Lee, 96.15.2

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