Published by the Reader Collection, Ontario Canada, 2014, ISBN 978-0-9937035-0-8

Reader Collection > Guides > Guide to Japanese Woodblock Prints of Flowers and Birds > Preface




Childhood encounters with interesting plants and animals stimulated me to pursue a career in biology and also to collect wildlife art. Japanese flower-bird prints are of special interest to me because they are so different from their European and American counterparts, not just in the species depicted but also in artistic style. In an attempt to better understand these differences I have taken a lengthy journey of discovery involving the Japanese flora, avifauna, art history, social history and language. I had no prior knowledge about any of these subjects so my journey has been long and challenging. Along the way I was helped by many people, especially Tomomi Suwa, Yoko Imai and Yukari Yutake.





I also thank the authors of publications listed in the Bibliography. I spent many hours reading, and re-reading, their works to help me understand all things Japanese. Unfortunately, none of these books provided an overview of the species, artists and styles used for flower-bird prints and, more importantly, why a particular species or style was chosen by the artist. To achieve this understanding I was forced to combine information from a variety of sources which took considerable time and effort. It would have been very useful to have had a guide to flower-bird prints at the start of my journey. I decided to write that guide for others to make their journey less difficult. I wanted the guide to be useful for identifying species, styles and artists plus understanding the artistsí choices of species and styles. Therefore, flowers, birds, artists and artistic styles are identified and described with the help of pictures and the results of a quantitative analysis of picture characteristics. In addition, the artistsí choice of style and species is interpreted in terms of prevailing social conditions, cultural traditions and foreign artistic influences. I hope this information aids your exploration of Japanese flower-bird prints.




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