Reader Collection > Exhibitions > Japanese Bird Art, 1950 to present day Part 2 Intaglio prints by 85 artists














Intaglio printmaking is a European invention. In this method of printmaking the design is cut into a piece of metal and the cuts are filled with ink. A piece of paper is then pushed into the cuts using a mechanical press to transfer the ink to paper. Cuts could be made using a metal tool or acid or both to create different artistic effects.

This method is very different from the traditional woodblock printing method used by Japanese printmakers. First, it required metal instead of wood. Second, the design was cut into the metal while in woodblock printing the areas around the design were cut away leaving the design standing in relief above surrounding areas of wood. Third, it required a mechanical press to transfer ink to paper while in woodblock printing hand pressure was sufficient to transfer ink to paper by rubbing the backside of the paper. Perhaps because of these major differences between intaglio and woodblock printmaking the intaglio technique was largely ignored by Japanese printmakers from the late 18th century, when the first intaglio print was made by a Japanese printmaker, until the mid-20th century. At that time it became part of the academic curriculum in post-secondary art schools and a number of students subsequently continued to use it during their professional career. From the 1950s to date about one hundred Japanese artists have used intaglio printmaking to make prints that featured birds (i.e., bird prints). Prints by eighty-five of these artists are part of the Reader Collection of Japanese Art and this virtual exhibition includes an example of the work of each artist. Some artists (prints 1-9) drew birds objectively (i.e., true-to-life shape and color) while others (prints 10-58) drew birds only semi-objectively. The remaining artists (prints 59-85) were more creative and intentionally falsified both bird shape and color.       

For each of the eighty-five prints the following information is given: name of the bird depicted (when identifiable), name of the artist, print title (when titled) and print size. Each of the prints has wide, white borders which, of course, are of less interest than the design itself. To allow details of the design to be seen more easily on a computer screen the design portion of each print is shown alongside the entire print (i.e., with borders).


Additional Reading

Hosono, Masanobu. 1978. Nagasaki Prints and Early Copperplates. Kodansha International, New York.










1   Ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres) by Mitsuru Nagashima, entitled ruddy turnstone, 400 x 320 mm











2   Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by Tadashi Ikai, entitled river breeze, 440 x 300 mm











3   Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) by Yoshimichi Fujimoto, entitled autumn quail, 390 x 470 mm











4   Great tit (Parus major) by Hidetaka Yamanaka, entitled red autumnal color, 285 x 380 mm











5   Common snipe (Gallinago gallinago) by Akira Baba, entitled memory on paper – bird II, 205 x 280 mm











6   Domestic goose (Anser cygnoides) by Mikio Watanabe, entitled goose I, 300 x 250 mm











7   Siberian blue robin (Luscinia cyane) by Akira Fujie, entitled purple beautyberry, 260 x 375 mm











8   Domestic fowl (Gallus gallus) by Keisuke Akahoshi, entitled it’s mine, 180 x 240 mm











9   Hazel grouse (Bonasa bonasia) by Etsuko Ishikawa, entitled walking, 215 x 190 mm











10   Mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos) by Shigeru Oda, entitled bird with flowers, 485 x 370 mm











11   Indian peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by Takehiko Mōri, entitled bright light, 320 x 395 mm











12   Black kite (Milvus migrans) and mandarin duck (Aix galericulata) by Keito Joh, 280 x 335











13   Little egret (Egretta garzetta) by Teruhiko Kondo, entitled little egret, 400 x 305 mm











14   Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo) by Tomiko Matsuno, 195 x 195 mm












15   Babbler (Pomatostomus sp.) by Ryō Arai, 165 x 230 mm











16   Domestic fowl (Gallus gallus) by Tazuko Nakamura, entitled mom, 360 x 265 mm











17   Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus) by Jusō Watanabe, 255 x 280 mm












18   Oriental turtle-dove (Streptopelia orientalis) by Hideko Nagahama, entitled with all my heart, 200 x 250 mm











19   Scops owl (Otus sp.) by Hiroko Yamada, entitled hunting, 300 x 240 mm












20   Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sp.) by Tai Nakatani, 380 x 285 mm












21   Rock dove (Columba livia) by Akira Okabe, entitled girl with dove, 245 x 245 mm











22   Little ringed plover (Charadrius dubius) by Tatsumasa Watanabe, entitled water bird II, 235 x 255 mm











23   Ural owl (Strix uralensis) by Yukie Matsui, entitled always together, 240 x 170 mm











24   Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sp.) by Shigeki Kuroda, entitled cormorant, 140 x 205 mm











25   Pygmy woodpecker (Dendrocopos kizuki) by Hideo Yoshihara, 165 x 225 mm











26   Dusky thrush (Turdus naumanni) by Takeshi Nakai, 135 x 155 mm











27   Blakiston’s fish owl (Ketupa blakistoni) and scops owl (Otus scops) by Kōji Ikuta, entitled Blakiston's fish owl and scops owl, 460 x 260 mm











28   Ural owl (Strix uralensis) by Tokio Miyashita, 360 x 260 mm











29   Rock dove (Columba livia) by Ryōhei Tanaka, entitled stone paving, 300 x 255 mm











30   Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) by Toshio Suda, entitled Japanese quail and Japanese lantern, 480 x 400 mm











31   Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) by Kōhei Wakatsuka, 190 x 160 mm











32   Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) by Takeshi Katori, 395 x 270 mm











33   Great tit (Parus major) by Kazuyoshi Kurahashi, entitled bird, 150 x 150 mm











34   Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by Masaki Shibuya, entitled portrait in wood – Mr. K, 155 x 165 mm











35  Black scoter (Melanitta nigra) by Fuhito Fujimiya, entitled black scoter, 195 x 135 mm











36  Crow (Corvus sp.) by Yoritake Seki, 695 x 420 mm











37   Scops owl (Otus sp.) by Kōichi Sakamoto, entitled catbird No. 2, 185 x 150 mm











38   Eurasian tree sparrow (Passer montanus) by Kaoru Saitō, 380 x 450 mm











39   Black guineafowl  (Agelastes niger) by Yasuaki Sanmotoki, 330 x 420 mm











40   Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus) by Katsunori Hamanishi, entitled spring song, 140 x 200 mm











41   Rock dove (Columba livia) by Yoshinobu Masuda, entitled pigeons in Venice, 360 x 550 mm











42   Domestic goose (Anser cygnoides) by Kenji Ushiku, entitled in the forest (Y), 315 x 495 mm











43   Hawk (Accipiter sp.) by Bin Takaba, entitled hawker’s haniwa, 225 x 305 mm






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