Reader Collection > Exhibitions > Informative Floral Art














A picture is worth a thousand words when one is trying to describe a flower. Consequently, Japanese artists were often commissioned to draw flowers for inclusion in publications dealing with plants. The informative floral artwork included in ten such publications is the subject of this virtual exhibition. These ten publications are part of the Reader Collection of Japanese Flower and Bird Art.

   The artists who drew the pictures for these ten publications are listed below along with the publication’s date in brackets. 


1 Yasukuni Tachibana (1807)

2 Eisen Ikeda (mid-1800s)

3 Shōseki Kose (1890)

4 Bairei Kōno (1890-1891)

5 Shōtarō Asami (1893)

6 Ginkō Adachi (1898)

7 Hōitsu Sakai , Kiitsu Suzuki,
    Kimei Nakano (1908)

8 Kōnan Tanigami (1917)

9 Hisui Sugiura (1920-22)

10 Kōjirō Funasaki (1947)

Their artwork was similar in some ways and different in others. Each artist drew the shapes of flowers in a true-to-life way but some colored the flowers more accurately than others. A single color (black) was used by two artists (Yasukuni Tachibana, Shōtarō Asami) while others used either a few colors (Ginkō Adachi) or many colors (all others). Some pictures were relatively small in size (Yasukuni Tachibana, Eisen Ikeda) while others were larger (all other artists). All pictures were woodblock-printed.

An example of the floral artwork included in each publication is shown below. The following information is given for each picture: name of the artist, name of the flower species depicted, publication title and picture size.










1   Yasukuni Tachibana - meadow-fleabane (Inula britannica), Chinese motherwort (Leonurus japonicus), green bristle grass (Setaria viridis), bog asphodel (Narthecium asiaticum) and St. Johnswort (Hypericum erectum), included in Ehon Noyama Nishiki (i.e., Brocade Picture Album of the Hills and Dales), 300 x 220 mm











2   Eisen Ikeda - Creeping saxifrage (Saxifraga stolonifera), China rose (Rosa chinensis) and plantain lily (Hosta sp.), included in Sōka Etehon (i.e., Plant Drawing Manual), 120 x 180 mm












3   Shōseki Kose – princess tree (Paulownia tomentosa), included in Shichijūnikō Meika Hana Gajō (i.e., Picture Album of Great Flowers Arranged by Seasons), 330 x 220 mm











4   Bairei Kōno – Japanese bindweed (Calystegia japonica), included in Chigusa No Hana (i.e., Flowers of a Thousand Varieties), 160 x 240 mm












5   Shōtarō Asami – camellia (Camellia japonica), included in Shinban Ehon Chōhōki (i.e., Revised Picture Guide Book to the Natural World), 165 x 230 mm












6   Ginkō Adachi – cockscomb (Celosia cristata) and hardy begonia (Begonia grandis), included in Sōka Gafu (i.e., Picture Album of Flowering Plants), 120 x 180 mm












7   Hōitsu Sakai, Kiiitsu Suzuki, Kimei Nakano - apple (Malus domestica) and butterfly-flower (Iris japonica), included in Shiki No Hana (i.e., Flowers of the Four Seasons), 280 x 185 mm











8   Kōnan Tanigami - African-lily (Agapanthus africanus) and freesia (Freesia sp.), included in Seiyō Kusabana Zufu (i.e., Picture Album of Western Flowering Plants), 260 x 185 mm











9   Hisui Sugiura - tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa), included in Hisui Hyakkafu (i.e., Album of One Hundred Flowers by Hisui), 310 x 460 mm












10   Kōjirō Funasaki – fan columbine (Aquilegia flabellata), included in Kōzan Kafu (i.e., Alpine Flower Album), 140 x 190 mm






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