Saturday, 29 April 2017

Why Wild Geese? The katada print

#wildgeeeseatkatata #katata #katada #ukiyo-e

Why is Wild Geese at Katada one of the Eight Views of Omi?

Katada was also noted for a shrine called the Ukimodo so why Geese in Flight?

Here are two different print son the Wild geese theme.

MMM both views seem to show wetlands in the foreground?

I googled a map of Katada ... Even today there are two streams flowing into a shallow bay and foreground parklands that could be been wetlands and perhaps still are. 
Perhaps visitors to the Ukimodo also came there to view the geese in flight.
I can easily imagine aristocrats familiar with Chinese poetry saying 
"We have geese in flight too!" 

Most of the views of Omi promoted to parallel the famous ones of Chinese paintings have multiple cultural and historical associations, some rather obscure now, and they also tell us how the Japanese environment has changed over the centuries.

Does anyone know if Geese still visit or breed Lake Biwa?

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Nihonga style depiction of a Dove

In keeping with our current #Dove theme a Jjapanese  #Nihonga #painting

Our next theme for the year of the bird may be peacocks or geese.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Terror and Doves

#waka #saigyo #dove

This is SKKS XVII:167 the# ShinKokinshuu

The #Japanese text I saw had kana for every single word but koe.

Here's the #Romaji

Furu hata no / soba no tatsuki ni / iru hato no / tomo yobu koe no /  sugoki  yuugure 

At the side of an old field a dove has landed and lingers in a tree that stands alone calling loudly for his companions at the edge of a terrible night.

old field connective side connective standing tree comes exists remains dove connective companion friend yobu calling summoning loudly connective sugoki seems to be sugoi or sugomu in bungo form wierd terrible spooky odd

Is it edge of a terrible night or the spooky  beginning of night and why is the dove alone?
These are flock birds? A string of linked simple images yet also a mystery!

The use of kana for several words with double meanings adds to the mystery!

Oh that last line sugoki yuugure !

Think about how it would sound recited out aloud not merely read?

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Shen Zhou Dove Painting

#shenzhou #ming #dove #painting #chineseart

For our next YEAR of the BIRD  sequence our avain will be the DOVE starting with this Chinese Painting by Shen Zhou from the Ming Dynasty. He is usually cited in art history texts as a landscape painter but he worked with other themes too!

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Another Cockerel for the Year of the Rooster

#yearoftherooster #yearofthe firerooster #shenzhou #chinesepainting #ming.

Here's an image of a rooster by Shen Zhou a Ming Dynasty Chinese Painter also famous for landscapes and calligraphy.

Its a slightly scrawny scruffy bird fluffing its feathers and clearly looking back at the artist. 
Perhaps a favored pet wandered into the part of Shen Zhou's residence where he had his studio pavilion? Its not a pretty bird but definitely one with personality and attitude.

The brush styles used for the feathers complement and contrast with the different types used for the branches and then there's the restrained and careful use of brown coloring to admire too!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Birds at a Shrine

#shiki wrote a #haiku depicting #birds at a #shinto #shrine that can be read two ways

mi+yashiro ya
niwa hi ni tooki
ukine dori

depending on whether you read niwa and hi as one word or two
this reads

 prefix honorable shrine shinto

garden/yard/enclosed space light / fire being at distance tooki is a verb! toku !
floating - sleeping implied birds ukine = sleeping in a ship or floating object or uneasy sleep

Why are the birds sleeping in the shadows so far away from the light?

They should be safe on the grounds of a shrine?

I thought they were simply avoiding being disturbed and that Shiki was creating a word picture of birds barely visible but recently I found niwahi can also mean bonfire so there's a note of anxiety and sympathy ... the birds have perhaps moved as far as they can across a pond away from the noise of humans celebrating some kind of fire ritual?

Poor birds!

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Quail in the Grasses

Quail in the Grasses is a popular theme in Japanese probably due to the poem I'm going to post below.

#quail #japaneseart #shunzei #waka

18th - 19th painting by unknown artist from Japan 
This and other images of quail and grass may have been illustrated this famous poem by Shunzei also known as Fujiwara Toshinari  SZSIV259 or SKKS 4.291 also and Miner






Its one of those elegant Heian waka that are both simple yet complex

Evening is passing over
fields vicinity of autumn wind  note fields NOT Moors see my note on Fukasato
nobe is written as no+be with kanji in the text i saw but spoken it could mean stretching
shimite could be shimeru pierced by cold wind feel pain or frozen and chilled
uzura are quail they could be wild or domestic
village of dense deep grass
this is an actual location now a suburb between Kyoto and Fushimi

Its evening a cold wind is moving and the quail are crying perhaps just their roosting call but perhaps some predator is stalking them?

Perhaps this was one of those rare areas where the soil wasnt right for rice paddies but the grasses had been left to grow for cattle and horses ?

The poet isnt in the city or the deep mountains but a semi rural area
Nowhere exotic but he makes the moment special and memorable!

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Cockatoo WU

Copyright Julie Vaux 2017

Would you like to see some of my techozi may available as a pdf ebook on Patreon or elsewhere?

Please let me know?

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Swallow Design

Here's a #swallow design based on the #hanzi #kanji for YAN for you to use!

Its a PNG format file with a transperent Bg so you can edit it further or resize it or whatever.

This design will also be offered as an reward on my PATREON site 

One of this months Low Tier  Pledge rewards will also be a Technozi on a Phoenix theme.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Swallow Hanzi Sampler

#hanzi #kanji #swallow #font #sampler

A sampler of how the character for Swallow looks in various font faces and weights.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Hokkei and Swallows

For our next bird the #Swallow

Here's a lovely #Surimono by #Hokkei a student of Hokusai.

Hokkei's drawingis perhaps more "delicate" than his masters possibly due to rimpa influence or studying Hiroshige as well as Hokusai. I like the way the color range has been reduced to bring out the details of the wing feathers!

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Zheng Jie A Demanding Eagle!

#zhengjie #eagle #yangzhoueccentric #chinesepainting

Zheng Jie is better known for using bamboos and epidendrums as a theme.

Where he could have seen eagles living in Yangzhou I don't know? It's a lively energetic work.

He worked as a magistrate in Shandong province. Perhaps there?

Retiring to Yangzhou in his later years and being pestered by fans for paintings in exchange for "gifts" he is said to have put this notice on on his front gate along with a list of prices for each scroll size!

"Gifts and foods are not as good as cash, since what you give me might not necessarily be what I like. If you present cold, hard cash, then my heart swells with joy and everything I paint or write is excellent." 

Zheng Jie is regarded as being one of the Yangzhou Eccentrics group.

Some people were "gifting" artists with "tokens of appreciation" by providing rent free housing or rolls of silk or bags of rice or swapping collectibles. One was supposedly to refer to these as gifts.

Being totally honest about how a retired magistrate who painted made money from his art was apparently "eccentric" in 18th China?! 

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Zhao's Hoopoe

#zhaomengfu #chaomengfu #hoopoe #chinesepainting

While searching for images of hoopoes for a different blog I cam across this.

Zhao Mengfu is usually mentioned as a LANDSCAPE painter in texts on Chinese paintings but he also painted bird and flower themes but frankly I like this one better than the landscape usually shown OVER AND OVER again in most books! Also the various collectors and previous owners had the good taste to apply their personal seals in the blank spaces at the edges!

Also bear in mind some old European oil paintings the colors have changed over the colors. I suspect the greens were once much stronger. There's still a lot of exquisite detail despite this being a lower resolution web file and image much smaller than original scroll! Enjoy!

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Eagles !!!

#eagle #hanzi #kanji #chinese #japanese

Copyright Julie Vaux 2017 
Japanese uses a kanji that means vulture in Chinese to mean eagle and uses this kanji for HAWK!

During the recent "upgrade" of a certain online lexicon someone snafu'd the Hakka entries so I have no idea what the tone is for the Hakka entry!

The chinese word ying and its hanzi appears in a variety of compound words to describe various avian raptor species including falcons and hawks as well as eagles.

You may also see the Cantonese jing spelt as ying in some romanisations.

There are also other words for eagle but this appears to be the main term.

Look up diao and shuang.

The next post in this birds series will be a painting!

Some time in the near future due to a discussion with a Twitter acquaintance I may post on Sinitic influence on Vietnam and why Viets and other Asians get sick of being mistaken for Chinese and vice versa.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Did Lin Liang use Live Models?

Did #ming dynasty #painter #linliang use live models for his paintings of Eagles Hawks and other birds?

This image is a closeup of one portion of his Two Hawks scroll.

The MING court could have had falconers and mews and while jesses and leashes are only shown when the pictures are of falconers out on a hunt I am wondering given the amount of detail in Lin Liang's works if there was some kind of netted enclosure in part of the Imperial Palace.

Hawks in bamboo thickets?
Its just possible Lin Liang may have actually gone up into the mountains to view wild birds but having viewed a few of his paintings I noticed several birds have an expression of intense focus that suggests a falconer holding treats while a painter franticly brushes sketches.

I also bring to your attention when he's painting hawks and eagles they often seem to be fluffing or ruffling their feathers out. But thats the brush work you say!

Okay these are raptors not cockatoos but Australian cockatoos are as large as some hawk species and the pattern of feathers and brsuhstrokes suggest feather fluffing to me.

A slightly bored or relaxed or irritated bird watching the silly human with the piece of paper and the brush?

There are no mentions of such structures but Ming technology and Imperial court resources certainly could have allowed for creating large temporary enclosures in the gardens so that birds could be painted without jesses or hoods and as I typed earlier


Friday, 24 February 2017


#Duck #hanzi #unihan #technozi #chineselanguage #japanese #kanji #

Copyright Julie Vaux 2017
Ya is the generic word for ducks of several species.

There are special words and characters for mandarin ducks, male and females, like oshidori, and yuanyang, and the domestic farmyard duck is wu or mu, ahiru in Japanese, mou in Cantonese.
Wild teal ducks seem to be FU .

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Vietnamese Duck

#ceramics #vietnamese #duck

IN keeping with this years BIRD theme and taking a break from roosters lets look at Ducks for a change and not just the well known theme of a pair of mandarin ducks so popular in painting.

The attention given to Chinese and Japanese ceramics tends to lead to the elegant simplicity and strength of Vietnamese ceramics being overlooked. Like this LE Dynasty duck figurine /vessel.

It was probably used as brush washer.

Whatever cobalt pigment the Vietnamese potteries had access to wasn't as pure and bright as Chinese pigments and perhaps had iron mixed in but I rather like their indigo blues.

Form and intended function work together and it has charm without being kitsch or folksy. 

Friday, 17 February 2017

Utamaro Rooster Print

#utamaro #rooster #print

While Utamaro was better known for other themes he did a special commission for a Kyoka poetry club of an album of bird and flower images. Note that he brings the same level of detail to depicting feathers as he does to clothing. It is more "painterly" in composition and layout but note the crossed diagonals used to create depth without shadows!

Please consider supporting my posts via #patreon 

or use 

so I have some wiring that needs repairs on top on the plumbing issues 
so your support will help spent on something practical not a luxury!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

HARUNOBU Lovers in the Snow

#harunobu #ukiyo-e #japaneseprint #romance

LOVERS IN THE SNOW Approx.  1766-8 

This is one of Harunobus best known and most popular prints.

Its in CHUBAN format and used a special type of black ink referred to as urushi or lacquer due to the depth of color and also an embossing technique called karazuri.

It also shows what you can do with only 4 colors combined and a production team focused on quality. Harunobu has a smaller palette than Hokusai or Hiroshige but uses it with elegance.

Share it with your #valentine

Friday, 10 February 2017

The Rooster and the Lovers

#shunshoo #yearoftherooster #lovers #isemonogatari #ukiyo-e

Ukiyo-e is NOT all Shunga or pictures of Kabuki scenes or landscapes.

A lot of works labelled "prints" were illustrations for books.

Anthologies of  Japanese and Chinese Classics were very popular.

This is an illustration for Ise Monogatari Section 14

The poem the kana at the top of the page is purportedly by a woman living in a remote region who has just had an brief affair with a visiting Kyoto courtier.

Male courtiers were suppose to leave their lovers before dawn and send a poem the next day.

The woman perhaps not fully aware of this custom wrote this:

See Below Picture and as you scroll down note the delightful detail of the rooster and hen perched on the wall!

Yo mo akeba / Kitsu ni hamenade / Kutakake  no / Madaki no nakite / Sena wo yaritsuru 

My rather rough translation
time just about dawn for fox trapping that rooster (i'll be) 
already/ too early  he's crowing back (of my lover) sending away 

Due to the date of the poem and the arcahic bungo there are 2 or 3 interpretations of the verse.
I have opted for hopefully the most simple?

I am aware McCullough has translated this but have not yet been able to read her version, 
undoubted better than mine.

Shunshoo's print is dated 1766.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017


#ai #unihan #love #inkscape

Next week is Valentine's day so here's a medley of AI #technozi for inspiration

All these images are PNGS you can edit and  use

Copyright Julie Vaux 2017 

I also have a few AI LUV rewards up on #patreon 

I have so far uploaded one freebie and one low tier ONLY A DOLLAR reward

for every 50 dollars in pledges  I get towards my goal I will upload another reward!

Friday, 3 February 2017

Rooster Rendered in Lacquer

#yearoftherooster #lunarnewyear #asiannewyear #japaneselacquer

From the VA museum
If you read my previous post can you see why I think Japanese lacquer may have influenced Ito Jakuchu's style ?

Here's another Japanese lacquer 

The raised areas may be ceramic or metal on both pieces rather than carved lacquer.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

More Jakuchu

#itojakuchu #rooster #yearoftherooster

Ito Jakuchu really was quite extraordinary. These roosters are almost 3d!

I suspect his influences include not just painting but also wood carving japanese prints and lacquer.

Note his mastery of technique. 
The traditional S curve layout often used for landscapes is applied to birds .
The coloring is mainly monochrome but the detail is both strong yet delicate in its complexity.
The posture and contrast create tonal range and depth.

And each fowl is clearly a character with personality!

Saturday, 28 January 2017


The #yearofthefirerooster has just begun

So #itojakuchu art !

Ito Jakuchu an 18th century Japanese painter and sometimes printmaker had an extraordinary style that combined elements of Rimpa and Bunjinga. His technique deepens the reds white and blacks so they stand out as if carved rather than painted and one wonders if he also studied or watched wood carvers and lacquer workers as well as clearly studying imported Chinese scrolls.

I've tried to find some works by him that are less frequently cited copied and downloaded.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017


As its #Lunar #ASIAN #new #year in Friday or Saturday depending on where you are BIRDS will be a major theme in posts this year.

And it is the year of the Fire Rooster so check my Patreon page for some low tier Technozi!

copyright julie vaux 2017 

Want to do the online equivalent of a red envelope ? Don't like using paypal?

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Asian Lunar New Year Ecard

#asian #lunar #newyear #e-card

I'll be putting up some related graphics as the same usual mixture of freebies and $1 rewards on

Since this is the year of the Fire Rooster I'll be doing at least one bird related post every month!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Sydney summer steam

I think my choice of colors for this #technozi reflects the current weather in #sydney accurately!
#steam #heat Hot Earth Clouds hopefully forming later !?

#zheng #steam #inkscape #png

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Technozi Explained

#technozi #julievaux


The closest I could get to translating "TECHNO" seems to be these characters


and now a reminder and your chance to give me the online equivalent of a red envelope !

My plumber offered me a discount but he still wants over a 1000 dollars to replace certain bathroom items that still work but are not "fully functional" so please consider 

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Dong Winter

#dong #Winter

I wish the modern form of DONG fuyu in Japanese looked more like the archaic script forms!

This is a scan I've done a color edit on and will do further work on to make it look more "WINTRY"

Some of the archaic forms show a dot in the middle that represents the sun but I wonder if this very old form shows the vastness of a clear winter sky over the North Chinese Plains looking empty yet also making one feel closed in by the cold?

Saturday, 7 January 2017

3 buddhist godesses

Three Buddhist Godesses
ONE WISDOM and the Arts

#benten on a #dragon #print #japanese

TWO Compassion #kuanyin #dehua #ceramic #sculpture #chinese

THREE Fortune Blessings and Luck 
#lakhshmi #hindu 

East and West Fortune Compassion and Wisdom are depicted as aspects of the Divine.

However you honor the Divine may you be blessed in the New Year !

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Han Winter

#han #winter #kanji #hanzi #technozi

A late #xmas gift or an early #newyearsgift

You can crop off the snow crust edge if you just want the character.

While this is a gift if you use it in your own work I would appreciate it if you used

I have bills to pay like everyone else and I'm NOT doing this on a library terminal. 
Decent wifi costs money. Help towards my wifi broadband bill would be great?!