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!

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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.