Reader Collection > Exhibitions > Japanese woodblock prints of flowers and birds by one hundred artists














The term Japanese woodblock print is used to describe a form of Japanese pictorial art which is produced using woodblock printing. In this method of printing the picture design is first outlined on the surface of a piece of wood. Areas surrounding this outline are then chiseled away. Next, ink is applied to the outline, followed by a piece of paper, and the back of the paper is rubbed to transfer the picture outline to paper. To create a multi-colored print the piece of paper is placed sequentially on a series of wooden blocks each carved and inked differently to show a particular portion of the design.

The first Japanese woodblock prints were produced in the ninth century. They depicted religious deities or priests and were sold as devotional aids. In the seventieth century, the rise of a pleasure-seeking Japanese middle class created a new demand for non-religious images which stimulated the senses and expressed emotion. Colorful flowers and birds were among the new subjects depicted in woodblock prints. These flower and bird prints (hereafter abbreviated as FBP) were sold either individually or as a series bound together in a picture book. Since the late seventieth century more than 3000 FBP have been published in picture books and an additional 2500 FBP designs sold individually.

The Reader Collection of Japanese Art includes about 3200 FBP. One hundred of these prints are featured in this virtual exhibition to illustrate the work of notable contributors to this art form, chosen based on the number of FBP they produced. A representative work of each of these one hundred artists is included below with artists arranged in descending order of their total FBP production. The following information is provided for each FBP: artist’s name and total number of flower and bird prints (s)he produced, names of the flower and bird species depicted, title of the picture book in which the print was published, if appropriate, publication date and print size.

Additional Reading

Newland, Amy Reigle. 2005. The Hotei Encyclopedia of Japanese Woodblock Prints. Hotei Publishing, Amsterdam.










1   Hiroshige Utagawa, more than 450 FBP, cotton-rose (Hibiscus mutabilis) and common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), 1830s, 115 x 350 mm


2   Bairei Kōno, more than 240 FBP, florist’s chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum grandiflorum), Indian chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum indicum) and green-winged teal (Anas crecca), included in Bairei Kachō Gafu (Picture Album of Flowers and Birds by Bairei), 1899, 250 x 370 mm











3   Koson Ohara, more than 180 FBP, plum (Prunus mume) and black-naped oriole (Oriolus chinensis), early 1900s, 190 x 355 mm


4   Rakusan Tsuchiya, more than 160 FBP, Japanese creeper (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) and red-flanked bluetail (Tarsiger cyanurus), 1930s, 380 x 250 mm











5   Keinen Imao, more than 120 FBP, morning-star lily (Lilium concolor) and Japanese thrush (Turdus cardis), included in Keinen Kachō Gafu (Picture Album of Flowers and Birds by Keinen), 1891-2, 255 x 370 mm


6   Hokusai Katsushika, more than 100 FBP, sand pear (Pyrus pyrifolia) and white wagtail (Motacilla alba), included in Hokusai Gaen (Collection of Pictures by Hokusai), 1877, 160 x 230  mm











7   Morinori Sekichūshi, more than 90 FBP, Hall crabapple (Malus halliana) and black-naped oriole (Oriolus chinensis), included in Gazu Hyakkachō (Pictures of One-Hundred Flowers and Birds), 1729, 180 x 250 mm



8   Morikuni Tachibana, more than 80 FBP, cherry (Prunus sp.) and green pheasant (Phasianus versicolor), included in Ehon Shahō Bukuro (Picture Book of a Bag of Sketching Treasures), 1720, 320 x 225 mm












9   Bunrei Mawkawa, more than 80 FBP, Japanese iris (Iris ensata) and water rail (Rallus aquaticus), included in Bunrei Kachō Gafu (Picture Album of Flowers and Birds by Bunrei), 1885, 245 x 360 mm


10   Kiyoshi Takizawa, more than 75 FBP, hollyhock (Alcea rosea) and yellow bunting (Emberiza sulphurata), inlcuded in Senryūdō Gafu Kachō no Bu (Picture Album by Senryūdō Flower and Bird Part),  1905, 155 x 225 mm











11   Taito II Katsushika, more than 70 FBP, plum (Prunus mume), Siberian rubythroat (Luscinia calliope) and flycatcher (Ficedula sp.), included in Kachō Gaden (Drawing Methods for Flowers and Birds), 1848, 300 x 240mm


12   Ginkō Adachi, more than 65 FBP, left top - heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica) and winter wren (Troglodytes troglodytes), left bottom -  leopard plant (Farfugium japonicum) and black-billed magpie (Pica pica), right - Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) and common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), included in  Ginkō Manga (Sketches by Ginkō), 1902, 150 x 225 mm











13   Shōun Yamamoto, more than 65 FBP, plum (Prunus mume) and Eurasian tree sparrow (Passer montanus), early 1900s, 85 x 205 mm


14   Hiroshige III Utagawa, more than 60 FBP,

crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) and bull-headed shrike (Lanius bucephalus), included in Kachō Zue (Pictures of Flowers and Birds), 1870s, 125 x 180 mm












15   Shigenaga Nishimura, more than 50 FBP, Japanese iris (Iris ensata), Chinese arrowhead (Sagittaria trifolia) and mandarin duck (Aix galericulata), early 1700s, 155 x 310 mm  


16   Sugakudō Nakayama, more than 45 FBP, Japanese mountain cherry (Prunus serrulata) and Japanese robin (Erithacus akahige), included in Shō Utsushi Shijū-hachi Taka (Exact Likeness of Forty-Eight Hawks), 1859, 245 x 360 mm











17   Kashū Numata, more than 40 FBP, Japanese witch-hazel (Hamamelis japonica) and Bohemian waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus), included in Shūchō Gafu (Picture Album of Bird Drawings), 1885-90, 175 x 245 mm



18   Shigemasa Kitao, more than 40 FBP, plantain lily (Hosta sp.) and Ryūkyū robin (Erithacus komadori), included in Shashin Kachō Zue (Naturalistic Pictures of Flowers and Birds), 1805-27, 320 x 225 mm












19   Rinsai Shiba, more than 40 FBP, common garden peony (Paeonia lactiflora) and green peafowl (Pavo muticus), included in Shinsen Sanjūroku Kachō (Thirty-six Newly Selected Flowers and Birds), 1880s,  250 x 365 mm




20   Gessō Yoshimoto, more than 40 FBP, fringed pink (Dianthus superbus) and northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), early 1900s, 140 x 260 mm











21   Yoshiharu Utagawa, more than 40 FBP, cherry (Prunus sp.) and mandarin duck (Aix galericulata), included in Shinsen Kachō Zue (Newly Selected Pictures of Flowers and Birds), 1878, 120 x 180 mm


22   Yoshiharu Kimura, more than 40 FBP, opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) and Indian peafowl (Pavo cristatus), 1972, 710 x 520 mm












23   Koryūsai Isoda, more than 35 FBP, rose-of-sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) and long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus), late 1700s, 165 x 230 mm


24   Katei Taki, more than 35 FBP, sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) and grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea), included in Tansei Ippan (Models for Painting), 1894, 320 x 165 mm












25   Ōsui Asai, more than 35 FBP, silktree (Albizzia julibrissin) and barn swallow (Hirundo rustica), included in Kachō Gafu (Picture Album of Flowers and Birds), 1879, 150 x 215 mm





26   Yūho Tanaka, more than 35 FBP, Chinese amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor), cockscomb (Celosia cristata) and yellow-throated bunting (Emberiza elegans), included in Kōgei Shinzu (New Pictures of Industrial Arts), 1892, 165 x 240 mm











27   Rōsai, more than 35 FBP, tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa) and silver pheasant (Lophura nycthemera), included in Kachō Gafu (Picture Album of Flowers and Birds), 1880s, 115 x 170 mm



28   Eisen Ikeda, more than 35 FBP, common reed (Phragmites australis), mandarin duck (Aix galericulata) and green pheasant (Phasianus versicolor), included in Eisen Gafu Shohen (Picture Album by Eisen First Volume), 1849, 125 x 180 mm











29   Masayoshi Keisai, more than 35 FBP, common reed (Phragmites australis) and white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons), included in Shinki Issō (Clean Sweep of the Mind), 1814, 185 x 250 mm


30   Seitei Watanabe, more than 35 FBP, Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) and blue-and-white flycatcher (Cyanoptila cyanomelana), 1916, 375 x 280 mm











31   Shūzan Yoshimura, more than 30 FBP, plum (Prunus mume), great tit (Parus major), white wagtail (Motacilla alba), mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos) and brown-eared bulbul (Ixos amaurotis), included in  Wakan Meihitsu Gahō (Outstanding Japanese and Chinese Painting Treasures), 1767, 360 x 270 mm


32   Hōbun Kikuchi, more than 30 FBP, weeping cherry (Prunus subhirtella) and barn swallow (Hirundo rustica), included in Hōbun Gafu (Picture Album by Hōbun), 1890, 165 x 240 mm











33   Hōitsu Sakai, more than 30 FBP, left - lespedeza (Lespedeza sp.) and goose (Anser sp.), right - scabious patrinia (Patrinia scabiosifolia) and duck (Anas sp.), included in Kōrin Hyakuzu (One-Hundred Pictures by Kōrin), 1812, 180 x 250 mm


34   Shigenobu Yanagawa, more than 25 FBP, Hall crabapple (Malus halliana) and meadow bunting (Emberiza cioides), included in Yanagawa Gafu Kachō Bu (Picture Album by Yanagawa Flower and Bird Section), 1856, 120 x 180 mm











35   Gyōsan, more than 25 FBP, peach (Prunus persica), rape (Brassica napus), Chinese milk-vetch (Astragalus sinicus), violet (Viola sp.) and domestic fowl (Gallus gallus), 1880s, 250 x 375 mm


36   Shiseki Sō, more than 25 FBP, balsam-apple (Momordica charantia) and light-vented bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis), included in Sō Shiseki Gafu (Picture Album by Sō Shiseki), 1765, 360 x 270 mm












37   Tomoko Kyūki, more than 25 FBP, raspberry (Rubus sp.) and brown-eared bulbul (Ixos amaurotis), 2011, 100 x 150 mm


38   Sadanobu II Hasegawa, more than 25 FBP, Chinese amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor) and barn swallow (Hirundo rustica), mid-1800s, 285 x 230 mm











39   Ryōtai Tatebe, more than 20 FBP, common reed (Phragmites australis) and common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), included in Mōkyō Wakan Zatsuga (Miscellaneous Pictures of Japan and China by Mōkyō), 1762, 390 x 265 mm


40   Shūken Handa, more than 20 FBP, butterfly-flower (Iris japonica) and lesser cuckoo (Cuculus poliocephalus), included in Kōshōdō Gafu Kusahana no Bu (Picture Album by Kōshōdō Flowering Plant Part), 1891, 150 x 220 mm











41   Tōshi Yoshida, more than 20 FBP, Japanese laurel (Aucuba japonica) and Daurian redstart (Phoenicurus auroreus), 1977, 340 x 540 mm


42   Kinzan Haruna, more than 20 FBP, princess tree (Paulownia tomentosa) and rock dove (Columba livia), included in Kachō Gashū (Collection of Flower and Bird Pictures), 1905, 180 x 250 mm












43   Utamaro Kitagawa, more than 20 BFP, foxtail millet (Setaria italica) and Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica), late 1700s, 180 x 265 mm




44   Gorō Imae, more than 20 FBP, cherry (Prunus sp.) and green peafowl (Pavo muticus), included in Kachō Gashiki (Painting Style for Flowers and Birds), 1892, 120 x 180 mm











45   Shizuo Ashikaga, more than 20 FBP, weeping forsythia (Forsythia suspensa) and Eurasian bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula), mid-1900s, 300 x 445 mm




46   Shōkō Uemura, more than 20 FBP, plum (Prunus mume) and Eurasian bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula), mid-1900s, 270 x 390 mm












47   Yūkoku Matsui, more than 20 FBP, morning-star lily (Lilium concolor) and varied tit (Sittiparus varius), included in Kotori No Negura (Roosts of the Little Birds), 1901, 180 x 250 mm


48   Kōgyo Tsuskioka, more than 15 FBP, plum (Prunus mume) and mandarin duck (Aix galericulata), early 1900s, 250 x 240 mm











49   Ryūsai Ninjō, more than 15 FBP, princess tree (Paulownia tomentosa) and mythical hō-ō bird, included in Kachō Zuhen (Illustrations of Flowers and Birds), 1882, 150 x 225 mm


50   Yasukuni Tachibana, more than 15 FBP, violet (Viola sp.) and skylark (Alauda arvensis), included in Ehon Eibutsu Sen (Picture Book of Selected Subjects), 1779, 320 x 225 mm







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