Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Harunobu Night Scene with Plum Blossoms

#Harunobu A Ukiyo-e #print of a girl viewing #plumblossom at night

One of the advantages of the #ukiyo-3 multiple block printing technique was the innovation of printing solid color backgrounds. European printing had to wait for the development of metal plate lithography and silk screen printing.

The plum blossoms and branches are not overwhelmed by the solid black and a partial influence on this may have the example of lacquer with images appearing on black and dark backgrounds.

This effect would have been much more difficult to achieve with ink PAINTED on paper rather than rubbing and stamped into the paper.

Friday, 23 September 2016


Closely related to the #chinese #meiping is the #korean #maebyong shape

For contrast here's a Chinese Meiping Ding style 

Whether they actually have plum blossoms or not as decoration the meiping shape throughout Asia  tapers inward from top to bottom and has a raised symmetrical mouth / rim. 


Undated Modern for Export trade? 

2 #meiping #vases that actually do have plum blossom on them!
Ceramics #asianceramics #chinese ceramics
Some people claim meiping vases were made to hold cut plum or other flowering branches.
Others claim the shape developed from a shape with a lid used for storing dried and candied fruits.
I personally can see some one breaking or losing a lid and using a lidless jar to put flowers in and then suggesting to a potter friend that he make the jars taller and slimmer so the long branches would sit and display better.

An excellent Cizhou Style Meiping Song Dynasty

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

A single Line a single branch

#liqingzhao #ci #plum #chinese poetry

A Single Line A single branch

Chinese poetry can be just as info compact as haiku.

While Li Qing Zhao's favorite flower seems to have been the Osmanthus for its fragrance she often mentions Plum Blossom.

Several people have books out translating her poetry.

I particularly recommend C. Pannam Music From A Jade Flute

On P. 134 he translate one line of chinese verse as three

"a single branch of plum blossom informs the east god of the coming of spring"

p. 251 has the chinese hanzi and a transliteration of the poem.

The 3 lines in the translation are one elegant seven character line in Chinese.

Yi zhi xi de dong jun xin

Some people find Li Qing Zhao's verse melancholy or bordering on sentimental but it has a certain power and I sometimes think if she'd born in the say the American South she would have been a Blues or Jazz Songtress?

Do read Pannams book if you can borrow or buy it!

Friday, 16 September 2016

Mustard Seed Garden on Plums

The #mustardseedgarden manual of painting has a whole section devoted to depicting plum trees and blossom. The best known English translation by Mai Mai Sze though doesnt have the colored pages of this older Chinese edition.

In my copy the section starts on p.399 with a discussion of various painters ideas on method and then shows how to form branches starting with twigs then moving on to whole branches and trees then blossom separately and on branches.

There is however no depictions of or guides for painting the actual fruit!

Friday, 9 September 2016

Waga sono a Heian Waka featuring plum blossom

#wagasono #waka #plum #heian

MYS XIX:4140
Ootomo Yakamochi 718-85

Waga sono no sumomo no hana ka?
Niwa ni furu hadare no imada nokaritaru mo.

This is one of those seeming so simple poems that has a few twists.

(in) my garden is that the plum blossom?
In the yard falling (like rain) patches still are lingering.

Sono seems to be his outer garden and niwa his inner yard implying the blossom is falling all through his property. As a Heian aristocrat he may have had a property large enough to have a outer garden surrounding the pavilions and some enclosed private yards as well.
But is it plum blossom (sumomo is a type of plum) or patches of something else like snow implied by hadare?

While I've seen texts of this poem written in a mixture of kana and kanji note that this poem has NO chinese loan words and can be written entirely in kana.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Hokusai Plum and Moon

I've been sick and had to take a break but will try to do double or triple posts this week to update and continue the PLUM SERIES .

#Hokusai #Plum and #Moon #print

After the Cherry Blossom one of the most popular plants as an art theme was the flowering plum tree. Like the Chinese and other nations the Japanese used plums as fruit fresh or preserved and in sauces medicines and drinks as well as planting them for their beauty and to attract birds like the bush warbler.
Technically this prunus species is also known as the japanese apricot due to the fruit color.