LIBER AMICORUM OF TOKYO ARTISTS
On behalf of Edinburgh University Library, the Centre for Research Collections has recently acquired an example of a Japanese painting album – gassaku-jo or liber amicorum.
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.
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.
The recently acquired album contains 22 paintings by a group of Tokyo artists who lived between 1796 and 1917.
In addition to an illustration of a swallow, the album contains paintings of a peony, a waterfall, a monkey, autumn leaves…
…a mandarin duck, a chrysanthemum, a sparrow on a flowering twig, a lobster, heavy rain, a flock of sparrows…
…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.
A number of the other illustrations are shown below:
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.