Wednesday, 27 December 2017

3 Favorite Images of Japanese Art

3 Favorite Images of mine!

ONE A #hokusai #ukiyo-e #print of desktop objects, brushes, inkstone, inkslab, brushpot.

TWO #Shibata #Zeshin Mixed Media Lacquer Metal Wood 

THREE #hokusai #Phoenix #painting 

Sunday, 24 December 2017

12 Days of Rewards on Patreon

traditionally the 12 days of Christmas run from Christmas Day to Epiphany so starting today I'm going to try to posts rewards including Technozi at least once a day on my

please visit and view 
I have a FREE artwork up called Shaken Tea 

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Ink Colors

Trying to express the old saying about ink creating the five colors 
Yes that is radical 129 

People don't forget to visit my #patreon page for Xmas freebies 

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Christmas Post ONE

There will be extra Christmas posts but mostly PR about technozi rewards I'm putting up on Patreon


Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Chinese Cloisonne Rooster

By way of contrast to our prior post here's a Chinese #Qing dynasty #Cloisonne #Incense#Burner

I presume the wings are actually the cover and lift off and the incense exits via the beak?

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Sosuke Japanese Cloissonne

#yearoftherooster #sosuke #japaneseart #vases #cloisonne
The Year of the Rooster isn't quite over yet. While web searching for treasures to share with you
 I found this delightful pair of vases. Enjoy! The master who created these was called Sosuke.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Kisshoten is Lakshmi

#Kisshoten #Lakshmi A Medley of Images

Yes Kisshoten is Lakshmi. Goddesses Migrate!

#japanesesculpture #hinduism #buddhism

Just being doing a stats check and all of my all time most popular posts was on the evolution of images of Lakshmi from those in India to later in Tibet and Japan.

So here's some again to save you scrolling down! 

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Its still the year of the rooster!

#okimono #japanesesculpture #bronze #rooster #hen 

It's still the Year of the Rooster so lets get back to that for a few posts though I will be doing other bird / flight / winged beings theme posts before the year of the dog starts.

Here's a lovely Japanese Bronze Okimono for you to enjoy!

One side effect of the fall of the Tokugawa regime was that craftsfolk working in metal who once produced objects catering to samurai and daimyo like sword scabbards, armour and helmets needed new markets and shifted to creating what the Japanese call okimono and we call Objects of Art or Small Sculptures such as this lovely pair.


Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Jade cicadas

#Cicadas carved in #Jade originally used as tokens of immortality to be buried with the dead but also used for jewellery in China.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Au Co and Seal Script.

#AUCO #Vietnamesemyth #kanzi #sealscript

The Vietnamese culture has a story of a bird spirit who came from the mountains and was trapped while in bird form and rescued by a dragon prince who became her husband. Their children hatched from 100 eggs and became the ancestors of the Viet people.

Her name is Au Co in Vietnamese and is written like this in modern Chinese though the characters do have other simplified forms.

Literally in modern Chinese this is something like old woman concubine but take another look at the older seal script form of the first element in her name. It shows a woman facing an enclosure with round objects. 

Maybe the original concept was woman who protects like royalty?

In Chinese Au is Yu4 

I wonder if an entity similar to Au Co was once honored in Southern China or the Yue realms adjacent to North Vietnamese?

While people think of the Chinese writing system as spreading from central china outwards and most modern characters have been standardized odd rare characters like this make me wonder if regional variants have been absorbed into the greater body of characters?

As I've written before while North and South have a yin yang relationship in Chinese culture and while the culture of the central Plains isusually dominant sometimes the South is stronger? 

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Dong Son Birds

Some more Dong Son Birds. #dongson #vietnam

Note that I had to do some edits on the images to emphasize details.
The original bronze artifacts have slightly different colors and tones.

The Dongson culture seems to have be fascinated by birds and other animals.

Next another look at the Ao Co myth and what that may tell us about that culture and its interactions with Ancient China?

Scroll back to the Red Bird of the South post if you missed it ! 

Please note I have not seen the originals as the largest holdings of Dongson artifacts seem to be in French museums I have not visited. 

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Red Bird of the South

#redbirdofthesouth #asianculture #symbols #dongson #vietnam

Tradtional Chiense culture and other neary cultures influenced by China allot the four directions the following as symbols:

White Tiger of the West. Black Warrior/ Turtle of the North, Dragon of the Eastern Sea. Imperial Dragon of the Centre and Red bird of the South.

Now we know White Tigers exist in the wild but are currently rare and endangered but in the past were more common and I'm not going to discuss what the basis of dragons and the other symbols in this post but this year since its the Year of the Rooster I have been running avian theme post series.

I explored the Red Bird and I thought if the White Tiger may be inspired by tigers with (partial) albinism what about the Red Bird?

Now the ancient Dong Son culture of SE Asia used bird symbols and depicted birds.

Images included hornbills and other birds that may be storks cranes or egrets or even peacocks.

Chinese culture has the Red Bird of the south.

Could there be a link?

 We know there was cultural interchange between Southern China, the CHU state, the Yue realms and further south.

Here's a couple of images.

Here's a closeup of a Dongson artifact which I edited to emphasize the bird pattern.

Other Dongson culture bird images.

I think a clue here is not the long bird but the pattern of bars and speckles.

Now take a look at this.

This is Elliotts Pheasant a species who's current habitat is the far south of China and which could have had a far wider habitat area in the past. Its a warm red color has a long barred pattern tail and a crest and jungle fowl peacock and storks are not red.

Could the Red bird of the South been a folk memory of this or some other pheasant species that had a far wider range up toward Central China and down to Vietnam.

Finally consider this: the Vietnamese origin myth of a bird immortal/ goddess Au Lac from the mountains who mated with a (chinese) dragon prince from the sea founding a realm in the river valleys of the north of what is now Vietnam.

Red Bird of the South? Bird Goddess of the past? Folk symbol now.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Cicadas Harunobu print

#cicadas #harunobu #ukiyo-e

Yes I know the cicada is barely visible perched up on the tree trunk but its a charming "slice of life" print showing us that small boys in the Edo period chased and hunted cicadas. 

In Sydney its usually birds hunting cicadas as fretful modern parents fear children will fall out of trees and children are also encouraged not to hunt and collect as generations of enthusiastic collection have made the treasured Black Prince variety a rarity. 

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Cicadas - a Waka

This poem about #cicadas is from a sequence of #waka written by #MinamotoNoAkinaka (1064-1135)

Yamakawa no 
Iwa kosu nami ni 
Tani hibiku nari 
Semi no morogoe 

mountain yama river kawa  of no

reef  iwa as jagged peaks of rocks sticking up thru waves nami  in a rapid kosu straining or crossing over ni - locative

uchi intensifier prefix "VERY" little / great soete sou following accompanying running along

tani valley hibiku  echo sound nari verb to be archaic

semi - cicada no - of morogoe compound noun moro together goe voice  voices sounds in unison

My notes I hope show why learning even just a little bungo deepens one's appreciation of waka.

Translated directly one loses most of the assonance  ?

I will try though to give you something not too prosaic !

in a mountain valley
waves break over rapids 
following so closely 
 the valley fills with echos of both 
the chorus of cicadas 

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Cicadas - a Ming dynasty Chinese painting

#xuesusu #cicadas #chinesemingdynasty painting #ming #chinese

So I' m still doing random search combining different parameters and I find this lovely little known masterpiece though perhaps I should say "Mistress" piece. When you finish enjoying this go into Wikipedia and look up Xue SuSu . Painter Archeress Courtesan Nun and More.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Cicadas - Three A Lesser Known Japanese Print

#cicadas #japanese #print

Unfortunately not much information is available about this print. The creator is unknown.
Its Japanese but the composition and the use of Chinese characters with NO kana suggests to me that maybe some one was looking at a Chinese illustrated book.

Its certainly not a great masterpiece but it has a certain charm and elegance though the artist seems to have done a better job of depicting the cicada than the kingfisher or whatever bird this is?

I also wonder if this is a print from Osaka or Kyoto rather than a Edo publishing house?

Next post I'll show you how a famous Ukiyo-e master depicted a cicada.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Cicadas Two - Lacquer

#zeshin #student #japanese laquer #cicada Number Two in a series of posts about Cicadas.

This Meji era lacquered box is thought to have been made either in Zeshin's workshop or by one of his students but not by the master himself. Note the mixture of textures and the way the gold inlay contributes to the composition. Its painted yet carved yet also molded and exquisite.

Follow me for more posts about cicadas in Asian art.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Butterfly - Song Style

#butterfly #songdynastypainting 

Here's a closeup detail of a Song Dynasty Painting on Silk of a Butterfly.

and thats the last on the butterfly sequence! out next theme will be cicadas!

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

A Hokkei Tsurezuregusa Surimono Print

#surimono #print #hokkei #kenko #tsurezuregusa #radish

The juxtaposition of radishes and armor in this print are a reference to one of one of the stories in Kenko's Tsurezuregusa, a tale of a man who eat 2 boiled radishes, the large white japanese variety every day for years. While his residence was attacked two soldiers appeared and defended it and then informed the man they were the radishes or the spirits thereof.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Butterflies a Korean painting

#butterflies #butterfly #koreanpainting

For a change a painting done in 19th century Korea

The subtle differences in coloring in contrast to Chinese and Japanese styles may not be evident unless you've seen a lot of all three but they are there !
Note also no flowers and the different composition.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Butterflies - Zeshin Lacquer painting

#butterflies #zeshin #lacquer #painting

Yes this is lacquer not ink !

I hope you have enjoyed this butterfly series

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Three Butterfly Haiku

Three examples of how #japanese #haiku #writers handles #butterflies as a theme.


Rakka eda ni
kaeru to mireba
kochoo kana

Note Moritake's use of a SinoJapanese noun phrase RAKKA instead of the ochiru verb to keep to the 5 syllable limit and make a distinctive strong start to his poem and set up a pattern of words and syllables  ending in a for a resonant effect? rakka eda kaeru mireba kana

and the idea of transition ... did he see a leaf or a petal but no a butterfly drifting !


Tsurigane ni
Tomarite nemuru
Kochoo kana

A simple image a butterfly perching on a temple bell.

Yet bear in mind the potential disturbance ... at any moment some one might come along and strike the bell and the butterfly would be gone no longer a pretty contrast to the metal bell.

Temple Bells in Japan are not mounted in a belfry but usually almost at ground level!


She presents us with an almost sentimental image but with a twist of irony.

Choochoo ya
Onago no michi ya
ato ya saki

The butterfly or butterflies that are are before and after a woman on a path.

Are they butterflies or obis tied in a certain style that changes as a woman changes?

Did she have butterflies on her outer kimono or on the obi?

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Butterflies Shin Hanga Style

#shumman #shunman  #shinhanga #butterfly #print #japanese

A Shin Hanga Print by Shumman or Shunman (his name is spelt either way)

Check out the rest of my series.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Butterflies - Japanese Embroidery

Todays #butterfly image is a close up shot of silk emboridery on a furisode kimono sleeve.

I love and admire the way Japanese textiles combine various techniques stencil tie-dying  and embroidery too Enjoy!

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

A Butterfly Okimono

#Ittousai #lacquer #driftwood #okimono #butterfly

This work could be classified as a lacquer work or a sculpture.

The downloadable image does not show that the butterfly worked in bronze is perched on a piece of driftwood that has been carefully lacquered to preserve it and enhance the bronzework by contrast.

Its an early 20th century work!

Our butterfly series continues next week Join Me then! 

You can get updates on when I post by following me on Google or via my Twitter feed @JVartndesign

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Butterflies - Hiroshige

#butterflies and #peonies #hiroshige #ukiyo-e

that orange streak is not a stain its a stylized representation of morning mist

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Butterflies - Utamaro

#Utamaro #ukiyo-e #butterflies #book

While Utamaro is well known for his bijinga he also created illustrations for books.

Whoever carved the plate for the print seems to have split Utamaros drawing in half but fortunately the actual print producers who inked and colored and made the print for the pages did a good job with the final trim and his insects and flowers are as elegant as his other beauties.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Butterflies - Zhu Rui Ning

#zhuruining #qingdynasty #chinesepainting #butterflies

Another Qing dynasty Painter who depicted butterflies with exquisite mastery of color and line was Zhu Rui Ning

Notice the careful balance of colors and tones. I suspect there's just a little indigo mixed in with the ink for the grasses and likewise a little ink with the green of the leaves.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Chinese Art and BUGS

The Chinese were probably the first printmakers to feature butterflies moths and other insects on woodblock prints even before the Japanese!

More images from this subgenre of "birds and flowers" to come !

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Change of Theme coming! Butterflies

I'm expanding shifting and changing the Year of the Bird theme towards Flight and Flying and then Butterflies perhaps. So watch for new themes!

Most of the best Butterfly ceramics prints and paintings seem to date to the Qing dynasty?

This pair of double gourd shape vases are "famillerose" overglaze enamels form the Qing dynasty.

I am wondering if the overglazes developed during that dynasty allowing polychrome with richer colors plus the popularity and spread of  "how to paint" huapu books of examples are interrelated?

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Two Eagles

#asianart #chinesepainting #japanesepainting #eagles

I though these two images might show how Chinese and Japanese painting can differ?

Chinese Painting Zheng Jie 

Ito Jakuchu Japanese

The same medium  brush and ink on a scroll but note the differences !

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

A Jakuchu Eagle

I've shown you eagles and other birds painted or printed in a variety of styles, chinese, japanese, ukiyo-e, ming, kano, rimpa, shinhanga, bunjinga and more.

Now here's one by Ito #Jakuchu.

Its very ... well the only word I can use in English is POINTY ... angular doesnt seem strong enough!

There's a basic s-curve composition and the tonal gradients of the brush strokes are arranged in a strong striking pattern of grays and blacks contrasting to white areas and Jakuchos distinctive use of white outlines. The contrast should look awkward  and jagged rather than expressive but such is Jakuchu's design skills and genius that it all works together!

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Liao Dynasty Phoenix HairPin

#Liaodynasty #Liao #phoenix #hairpin #chinesejewellery

Some metalwork for a change. Yes this really was a hairpin.

Most of the examples I've seen were created for the Imperial Family or Aristocrats however I have seen references that they were also used by wealthy families as parts of wedding outfits.

I wonder if they were ever made in bronze or copper or enamel for families who couldn't afford gold?

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Sewing for Scholars and Soldiers - Chinese Rank Badges

During the Ming and Qing dynasties the adding of embroidered patches to the jackets or outer robes of scholars, mandarins, aristocrats, courtiers and military officials and officers became a formal system. Imperial Princes and the Highest ranking Aristocrats worn dragons. Lower civil ranks had birds and the Military Animals like Lions, Tigers, Leopards, Bears and Rhinos.

This silver pheasant would have marked its wearer as being of the 5th rank in nine rank system with the highest ranks wearing Cranes and the very lowest Quails or Orioles.

Thee are many articles online about this ranking system and the pricing of antique robes. 
You will also modern replicas used for cushion covers advertised but what I want you to consider is this: the women who did the embroidery.

Chiang Yee in his autobiography describes his father painting embroidery patterns for the women of his household but I wonder how many of these women would have rather had lessons in how to paint for themselves, would have preferred a brush and inks and pigments to a needle and dyed silk threads?

I wonder how many women in military households would have rather been studying martial arts or books of strategy?

These patches and other Chinese embroidery are very beautiful but I wonder how many women did embroidery because it was the only outlet they had.

Thankfully in this century many women get more choice but spare a thought for textile workers be they embroiders, silk spinners and weavers, or garment finishers. Check you're buying those handicrafts from a genuine co-op or a workshop thats signed on to an ethical manufacture agreement.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Birds by Buson.

#buson #painting #japanese #nanga #bunjinga

I've shown you birds by masters of Chinese flower and bird painting and Japanese masters of #ShinHanga  #Rimpa and #Ukiyo-e . For a change here's a Japanese #NANGA or #Bunjinga style work by Yosa Buson also a creator of Haiku.

The monochrome coloring adds to the drama of the paired scrolls featuring two crows and what may be a hawk or an eagle on the right. Note the balance of curves and diagonals rendered by expressive broad brushstrokes. 

Saturday, 5 August 2017

SANSUI Closeup and Tonal contrast in Chinese Painting.

Here's a close-up  of one area of a famous Chinese #sansui #landscape.

People wirte about how chinese painting doesn't use tonal contrast or shadows to create depth and yet in works like this contrasting tones of ink near black and lighter grays do create an illusion of depth, of water flowing past and thru dark recesses and cliffs from a higher place downwards into a larger body of water and note how the plainer tones contrast also with the texture strokes in the foreground!

One should also bear in mind the silk this was painted on may have darkened since this is hundreds of years old but the darkening has strengthened the contrast.

Persia and China and a Phoenix

Okay since I was sick double posts to make up for my absence today!

Some of you may already know about the interactions of China and the Islamic world via ceramics.

Sancai and later blue and white ware and polychrome ceramics were developed partly in response to imports from Mesopotamia of lead glazed earthenware polychrome and later  Iznik ware was partly a response to imports of  Chinese blue and white wares.

Another example of how the interaction went both ways is this #Ilkhanid #phoenix #ceramic #tile

The rhythm and layout is very Chinese but note the Islamic influence on the floral ornaments !

No culture exists in isolation.
Is this "cultural appropriation" or interchange and fusion?

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

green tea and evil pollen

Sorry folks I've been sick off and on for the last week with the sort of minor ailments that tempt one to overdo things so one is sick one day and better the next but not fully recovered

stomach bug upsetting my blood sugar levels wattle pollen allergy leading to sinusitis sniffles mild flu or pollen reaction ... generic weird aches and twinges

I'm functioning on green tea and boringly sensible soups brown rice etc since anything much spicier sweeter or stronger makes me sick again

maybe by the weekend I've have the energy and inspiration to make a decent post

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

#cherry #hanzi #kanji #asianlanguages

Despite it being winter in my area a couple of local cherry trees are blooming in my area so

Copyright Julie Vaux 2017
You are welcome to share this for educational purposes
but please include a link back to my blog and a note that this diagram is copyright to me
 since sometime in the future I plan to compile these technozi into a book

Saturday, 22 July 2017


#frost #shuang  #hanzi #kanji #cursive #calligraphy #technozi


For Inspiration Study and Reference

I've posted these images before but that was some time ago ... years probably and frost is on my mind since it certainly is not summer in my area!

something I made with #inkscape and #gimp a few years back!

A scan from a book I own 

Enlarged edited diagrams derived from that scan.

The lower part of the character is xiang and seems to have be picked as the phonetic primarily because it ends in -ang like Shuang unless perhaps whoever created the  character was looking of looking at trees when its frosty or inspecting orchards or timber for frost damage?