Japan art and Kubo Shunman: Artist and birds

Japan art and Kubo Shunman: Artist and birds

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Kubo Shunman was born in the middle of the eighteenth century – during the Edo Period. He was noted for special novels (gesaku), poetry, painting, and producing ukiyo-e prints. 

It is known that Shunman had a difficult early life. This concerns being an orphan. However, despite this, Shunman overcame such adversity and focused on his creative spirit.

In the realm of art, Kitao Shigemasa taught Shunman various aspects of his esteemed knowledge related to ukiyo-e. Shunman also studied under the poet Katori Nahiko. This eclectic teacher was also a noted kokugaku scholar (Japanese classics – Shinto and literature from ancient Japan).

The British Museum says, “From the mid-1780s into the ’90s Shunman produced relaxed and elegant color prints and paintings after the manner of Torri Kiyonaga (q.v.). He was particularly adept at ‘benigirai-e’ (red-rejecting pictures) in muted color schemes. After the 1790s he ceased to design single-sheet prints, specializing entirely in ‘surimono’ and paintings.”

In this article, the focus is on Shunman’s delightful depictions of birds. However, it is a mere glimpse into the more eclectic art that he created.

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