Monthly Archives: April 2015

Japanese art – painting album – gassaku-jo

LIBER AMICORUM OF TOKYO ARTISTS

On behalf of Edinburgh University┬áLibrary, the Centre for Research Collections has recently acquired an example of a Japanese painting album – gassaku-jo or liber amicorum.

Cover board of the Japanese painting album - Centre for Research Collections

Cover board of the Japanese painting album – Centre for Research Collections

There are three main groups of Japanese painting albums: jiteki-jo, being painting albums made by a single artist; gassaku-jo , being albums contributed to by different artists; and, shuga-jo, being albums with paintings done by different artists and calligraphers brought together by a collector.

Decorated paper from the Japanese painting album - Centre for Research Collections

Decorated paper from the Japanese painting album – Centre for Research Collections

Gassaku-jo or liber amicorum (‘album of friends’) contain paintings often in combination with pages of calligraphy. Sometimes they belong to the same school of artists, but more commonly they are from different schools or done by amateur painters and poets from different cultural groups or circles.

Calligraphy from the Japanese painting album - Centre for Research Collections

Calligraphy from the Japanese painting album – Centre for Research Collections

The recently acquired album contains 22 paintings by a group of Tokyo artists who lived between 1796 and 1917.

Swallow - from the album of Japanese paintings - Centre for Research Collections

Swallow – from the album of Japanese paintings – Centre for Research Collections

In addition to an illustration of a swallow, the album contains paintings of a peony, a waterfall, a monkey, autumn leaves…

Waterfall - from the album of Japanese paintings - Centre for Research Collections

Waterfall – from the album of Japanese paintings – Centre for Research Collections

…a mandarin duck, a chrysanthemum, a sparrow on a flowering twig, a lobster, heavy rain, a flock of sparrows…

Autumn leaves - from the album of Japanese paintings - Centre for Research Collections

Autumn leaves – from the album of Japanese paintings – Centre for Research Collections

…a tea bowl and camellia, a shrimp, houses in the snow, a fan and handscroll, a white rabbit, and a basket… with a number of others.

Mandarin duck - from the album of Japanese paintings - Centre for Research Collections

Mandarin duck – from the album of Japanese paintings – Centre for Research Collections

A number of the other illustrations are shown below:

Sparrow on a flowering twig - from the album of Japanese paintings - Centre for Research Collections

Sparrow on a flowering twig – from the album of Japanese paintings – Centre for Research Collections

 

Flock of sparrows - from the album of Japanese paintings - Centre for Research Collections

Flock of sparrows – from the album of Japanese paintings – Centre for Research Collections

 

Heavy rain - from the album of Japanese paintings - Centre for Research Collections

Heavy rain – from the album of Japanese paintings – Centre for Research Collections

Dr. Graeme D. Eddie – Assistant Librarian Archives and Manuscripts, Centre for Research Collections

This post drew on information at the Chikurin Gallery and its painting albums pages.