Kawanabe Kyosai


Daruma Pilgirms Gallery


Kawanabe Kyosai 河鍋暁斎

Kawanabe Gyoosai (1831 - 1889)

Daruma and the Courtesans

Etsuko and Joe Price Collection
© Funaki Naoto Pages

. . . . .

source : www.muian.com


source : facebook

"Daruma" - 1888


Kawanabe Kyosai Memorial Museum
Warabi City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan 335-0003

About Kawanabe Kyosai (1831-1889)

CLICK for many more photos

This great artist has grown in stature as we have been able the better to get the Meiji period into perspective. He studied at an early age under Kuniyoshi and later under Kano masters, but eventually he went his own independent way. Essentially a nationalistic painter, he was nonetherless fully aware of Wetern art - indeed, he dealt with it quite broardmindedly in his book "Kyosai Gadan" published in 1887 - but he was robust enough not to succumb, as so many of his contemporaries did, to the blandishments of foreign styles, and was one of the last great painters in the truly Japanese tradition.

If he has a fault, it is over-exuberance: he paints vigorously with a full brush, but his immense bravura and skill are sometimes a little overpowering. But this very impetuousness and daring is often more economically used in smaller sketches and drawings and they have always elicited greater Western praise than many of his more important works.

CLICK Kyosai, because of the warmth of his personallity, his eccentricities and his known love for sake over and above his gifts as a painter, was a legend in his lifetime, and by great good fortune we have two intimate Western accounts of him at work: one by Emile Guimet, who with Felix Regamy, visited him in Japan in 1876, and wrote about him in "Promenades Japonaise," published in 1881; the other by Josiah Conder, the British architesct, who studied painting under Kyosai in the 1880s, and who, in his "Paintings and Studies by Kawanabe Kyosai," published in 1911, gave a very full account of the artist's methods.
Both Guimet and Conder were impressed by Kyosai's attack."
(Jaock Hiller)

© Kusumi Kawanabe, Director of the Museum


Kyosai Activities of the Twelve Months - 10th month
- source : Smithsonian -


河鍋暁斎 カエルとヘビの戯れ
Frogs and Serpents Frolicking
© Quote from : kuma90san.vox.com


Kawanabe Kyōsai (河鍋 暁斎, 1831– 1889)
was a Japanese artist, in the words of a critic, "an individualist and an independent, perhaps the last virtuoso in traditional Japanese painting".
His work like his life is somewhat wild and undisciplined, and occasionally smacks of the sake cup. In addition to his caricatures, Kyōsai painted a large number of pictures and sketches, often choosing subjects from the folklore of his country.
— in Japan.

- Shared by Kunio Hoshizaki -
Joys of Japan, 2012


CLICK for more photos

Click thumbnail for more of his paintings.


Watōnai as a Famous Toymaker (Watōnai 和藤内 hariko no meijin)


湯島天満宮 ema votive tablet from Yushima Tenmangu

河鍋暁斎 - more reference
明治7年1874 湯島天満宮に額絵「野見宿禰と当麻蹶速図」を奉納、仮名垣魯文と日本初の絵入り新聞『絵新聞日本地』を刊行。 
- source : www.muian.com/muian04


. Fudō Myō-ō, Fudoo Myoo-Oo 不動明王 Fudo Myo-O
Acala Vidyârâja - Vidyaraja .

Fiery God Fudo and Assistants

The fiery god is totally immersed in reading a news magazine . Meanwhile, one of his assistant, Seitaka, is warming sake bottle with Fudo's fire. Kongara is cutting beef for a supper. A leg of ox is hanged on the right.
source : Hayato Tokugawa - facebook

- quote
Fiery God Fudo and Assistants, 1874. Oban.
This is a very good and famous print from the less well known but hugely collectible artist Kawanabe Kyosai. A pupil of Utagawa Kuniyoshi and son of a samurai, Kyosai was a political satirist and famously described as “perhaps the last virtuoso in traditional Japanese painting”. Some consider him the natural successor to Hokusai and as the first political caricaturist of Japan.

Although this print is the most commonly reproduced of Kyosai’s work in catalogues it rarely comes to the market. It represents one of the five 'Kings of Wisdom' in Buddhism.
The print though is a satire on Japanese society because the terrible God Fudo is reading a popular newspaper whilst his assistants prepare food for him. Seitaka is warming a sake bottle and Kongara is cutting meat for his supper; a leg of beef is seen hanging on the right of the print.
Kyosai was a pupil of Kuniyoshi and we can see again in this print the influence of western art and design in the drawing of the figures - Fudo here resembles Hercules, and the overall quality and composition has something of the English eighteenth century satires of Gilray about it.
It is a humorous piece, the flames of the cooking fire evoke the more serious flames of hell with which Fudo is associated and the thrust of the design is presumably critical of the modern, relaxed society that Japan had become in the 1870’s.
- source : xxx

source : ameblo.jp/masaatsutomishima


. 河鍋暁斎 Kawanabe Kyosai - Hell Paintings .
- Oni 鬼 demons of hell


. ukiyo-e 浮世絵 Ukiyo-E with Tengu by Kawanabe .


- #kawanabekyosai #kawanabe -


Anonymous said...

Kyoto National Museum 2008

The 19th-century painter Kawanabe Kyosai (1831-1889) is known for his uninhibited brush and for his innovative, bold compositions. He was, however, also classically trained in the techniques of the orthodox Kano school and painted many extremely intricate works.

Those who are familiar with Kyosai in Japan think of him as an eccentric artist of demons and ghosts, while others may have never heard of him.

At age seven, Kyosai became a pupil of the ukiyo-e artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). From age eleven to nineteen, he received primary training in the Surugadai Kano lineage, whose members traditionally served as "official painters" (omote eshi) for the Tokugawa government. After achieving a mastery of the Kano techniques and style, Kyosai became independent.

During the tumultuous years between the end of the Tokugawa government and the nascent Meiji Restoration (1867), he assumed the name Kyosai ("Crazy Studio") and became very popular in Edo (now Tokyo) with his satirical paintings.

In 1870, however, governmental authorities arrested and imprisoned the notorious artist for his caricatures and punished him with fifty lashes before releasing him. Thereafter, he assumed a new pseudonym by changing the first character of his name kyo, which meant "crazy" or "wild," to a synonymous character meaning "dawn" or "enlightenment."

Nonetheless, Kyosai continued to produce innovative compositions by ingeniously incorporating traditional painting techniques and styles and never lost sight of visions as an eccentric artist in spite of the upheavals of Japan's attempt to modernize, known as bunmei kaika ("Civilization and Enlightenment").

With the historic opening of the country, Kyosai became acquainted with many Westerners, including the English architect Josiah Conder (1852-1920), the German physician Erwin von Baelz (1849-1913), and the French industrialist Emile Guimet (1836-1918).

These Japan enthusiasts, fearing the sudden Westernization of Japan, were fascinated by a quickly disappearing Edo culture and were drawn to the prodigious artist, whose works bridged concepts of tradition and modernity.

Although Kyosai's unique painting style has attracted much attention abroad, no comprehensive exhibition of this artist has been held in Japan until now. In commemorating the 120th memorial of Kyosai, who died of stomach cancer on April 26, 1889, the Kyoto National Museum proudly and exclusively presents his first major retrospective in Japan this spring.

Over 130 works spanning the career of this prolific painter have been selected to show his oeuvre. The exhibition explores his fantastical, burlesque works as well as more conservative ones that reflect his training in the Kano school through eight themes:

I. The Works of "Crazy Studio,"
II. The World of the Supernatural: Demons, Ghosts, and Gods,
III. Requiem for Tatsu,
IV. Large-scale Works,
V. Myriad of Themes,
VI. Hilarious Pictures,
VII. Tales and Annual Events, and VIII. A Modern Virtuoso.

Highlights of the exhibition include twenty-four paintings from the United Kingdom and The Netherlands and twenty-two other works which will be shown publicly for the first time (eleven of these are newly discovered works).

This retrospective brings Kyosai into the ranks of eccentric master artists, such as Ito Jakucho (1716-1800) and Soga Shohaku (1731-1781), whose works have been previously reassessed through major exhibitions at the Kyoto National Museum. Although highly individualistic, Kyosai did not merely demonstrate an impulsive brush but a classically trained one.

The Japanese catch phrase for the exhibition might be translated, "His works are so bizarre, they'll make you want to cry." Be shocked and surprised to discover both the bizarre and the beautiful in this artist's stunning repertoire.


Anonymous said...

Quote from the Japan Times
April 24, 2008

One hell of a time

Meji Period 'Demon of Painting' looked West


What wasn't to like about an artist who painted the scroll "Hard Times in Hell," in which the king of Hell and his coterie of demons ascend to paradise in search of more suitable employment?

Laughter from official quarters was decidedly muted when the same acute satirical eye focused on contemporary society and its fondness for all things Western. Whether Kawanabe Kyosai (1831-1889) really did depict an act of sodomy between foreigners and Japanese at a shogakai (a drinking and painting party) in 1870 is unsubstantiated. The jail time Kyosai spent in the event's aftermath, however, is historical record.

Kyosai's distinct sarcasm, playful virtuosity and extraordinary inventiveness are the themes of Kyoto National Museum's spring exhibition, "Bridge to Modernity: Kyosai's Adventures in Painting," showing till May 11. The artist lived in a time of extraordinary national and cultural tumult as Japan transformed itself from a feudalist society into a modern nation state. While his contemporaries were searching for methods to modernize Japanese-style painting — later given the name nihonga — or adopting more vanguard expressions in oil paint and imported Western styles, Kyosai was a bastion of tradition.

Precious little about Kyosai, however, is conventional. His apprenticeship as an artist began at the age of 7 in the studio of ukiyo-e (genre painting) artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Kyosai had penchant for sketching from "life" that is illustrated by a macabre, apocryphal tale of the precocious student fishing a severed head out of a river — when he was 8 years old — to use as a subject for sketching practice.

From his 11th year through to his late teens, he was enrolled in the Surugadai branch of the revered Kano School. The surplus of skill he exhibited earned him the nickname the "Demon of Painting" from Maemura Towa, his first Kano teacher, which the artist later amended to "Intoxicated Demon of Painting" to convey his fondness for alcohol.

Kyosai graduated from his Kano training when still a teen, and the exhibition starts with a work from that time, "Bishomonten" (1848). While he revered the Kano school, his allegiance to its principals slackened as he later took on other styles. The most significant deviation was a comic, vulgar style, often satirical and certainly eccentric.

An early precedent for the genre is seen in the "Scrolls of Frolicking Animals," attributed to Toba Sojo (1053-1140), a Buddhist priest. Kyosai updated the style to notable effect, particularly in his "Fart Battle" (1867). Also shown in the the Mori Art Museum's "Smile" exhibition last year, the scroll depicts participants being fed from a caldron of root vegetables to provoke a battle of gas as entertainment for palace courtiers. As the amusements progress, the passing of wind intensifies to the wind-powered launching of hay bales as missiles between the opposing teams. Spectators will note the essential qualities of manga here, which a concurrent event at the Kyoto International Manga Museum also showing till May 11, "Kyosai Manga Festa," makes even more explicit.

In larger paintings, Kyosai depicted ferocious creatures of lore and legend. In "Ghost" (1883) he uses kaki-byoso (painted borders) in place of the conventional silk borders of the picture mounting, making it appear as if the ghost were rising free from the painted surface by appearing to extend beyond the customary painting space. In an even larger, 17-meter work, a curtain made for the Shintomi Theater called "Actors as the One Hundred Demons" (1880), Kyosai combined portraits of actors working at the theater with another of his favored themes, the "Night Procession of the Demons." Fortified with a few bottles of rice wine, Kyosai completed the work in four hours. The result was a sensation.

With all this, it is remarkable to note — as Kano Hiroyuki, the exhibition's supervisory curator, does in his catalog essay — that Kyosai is generally unknown in Japan. Despite a memorial museum dedicated to the artist in Warabi, Saitama Prefecture, the present exhibition is the first large scale retrospective in this country of the his work.

A more persistent interest in Kyosai has been taken up in the West, and the reason for this in part was Kyosai's interactions with foreigners in the early years of the Meiji Period (1868-1912). In particular, Englishman Josaiah Condor was a student and intimate of the artist, and the one who held Kyosai's hand on his deathbed. Early publications in English, such as Condor's "Paintings and Studies by Kawanabe Kyosai" (1911), which concentrated on the author's personal collection, spurred the affection.

Hopefully, the Kyosai's slippage into oblivion will be halted by this exhibition, and the free-spirited artist will be remembered as the "Intoxicated Demon" rather than another, late signature he used: "Nyoku (Like Emptiness)."


Gabi Greve said...

The late Edo to early Meiji period
Kawanebe Kyosai and his deciple "Kondoru,"
exhibition in two parts.
First part, 6/27 to 8/2, focusing on screens showing yamto bijin,
河鍋暁斎《大和美人図屏風》(部分) 明治17-18(1884-85) 年/京都国立博物館寄託;
Second part, 8/4 to 9/6, focusing on Chojyugiga, cats and tanukis, 河鍋暁斎《鳥獣戯画 猫又と狸》(部分) 明治18(1885)年/河鍋暁斎記念美術館蔵,

Gabi Greve said...

Edo no takenoko 江戸の筍
bamboo shoots in Edo


Gabi Greve said...

Tenaga-Ashinaga shaving Fukurokuju
. 手長明神 Tenaga Myojin (The kami with long arms) .

Gabi Greve said...

化々学校 - おばけの学校 School for Monsters and Demons


Gabi Greve said...

kotowaza ことわざ proverbs with "Tengu"
koboozu hitori ni tengu hachi nin 小坊主ひとりに天狗八人

Gabi Greve said...

The Deities of Good Luck throwing beans at the demons
Daikoku, Ebisu and O-Fuku

oni wa soto 鬼は外 "Demons, get out!" 
「鬼は―外! 福は―内!」

. setsubun 節分 "seasonal divide" rituals - Introduction .

Gabi Greve said...

Kawanabe Kyōsai, 河鍋 暁斎
千代寿 Chiyo no kotobuki (Long-lasting auspiciousness)
showing 士 shi (samurai), 農 nō (peasants), 工 kō (artisans), 商 shō (merchants)
published by 築地大金 Tsukiji, Daikin
Tokyo Metropolitan Library