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