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Jay on an oak branch

Jay on an oak branch
by Shoson Ohara (1877-1945)- Koson

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Artist: Shoson Ohara (1877-1945)- Koson 小原祥邨、小原古邨
Title: Jay on an oak branch
Date 1st edition?1900 (circa)
Date of this artwork?c1900 (may not be accurate)
Publisher 1st edition?Not Set
Publisher (this edition)?Not Set
Medium (1st edition): Woodblock
Medium (this edition): Woodblock
Format (1st edition): Mitsugiri
Format (this edition): Mitsugiri
DB artwork code: 32609
Notes (1st edition)?
Notes (this edition)?The following information was taken from the original web listing of this artwork. Often written by non-experts, there may be inaccuracies:


Jay on an oak branch
Date: c. 1900, published by Kokkeido (Akiyama Buernon). Kokkeido seal, signed Koson. This is one of Koson's earliest prints. Rare.
Size: OVERSIZED naga-oban: 500 x 215 mm, 8.75" x 19.5"
Condition: Full size (not trimmed), Fine.
Impression: Fine.
Color: Fine.
Documentation: page 39 (catalogue #7) of Crows, Cranes & Camellias: the natural world of Ohara Koson. Leiden. 2001

A jay (Garrulus glandarius), identifiable by its pinkinsh-brown body, blue and black wings and black-and-white crest, rests on an oak branch. The jay eats all types of insects and plant matter, but acorns are its main food, and oak forests its preferred habitat.
There are nineteen examples of these large format prints with bird subjects. The are generally considered to be Koson's earliest printed works for the publisher Kokkeido (Akiyama Buemon who also published Yoshitoshi's One Hundred Aspects of the Moon series), and they appear to be amongst the artist's rarest prints. They are characterised by careful printing and the use of the background wood-grain for effect. The fact that many impressions are toned is an unexplained feature.

The unusual size of the Kokkeido works would have meant that great attention was paid to their production, an indication that the audience for them differed from ordinary prints. This care is exemplified in techniques such as the exposure of the wood-grain in the background to create texture and the application of gofun (Chinese white derived from ground oyster shell) as an accent.

Artist Bio: Ohara Koson (小原 古邨?, Kanazawa 1877 ? Tokyo 1945) was a Japanese painter and printmaker of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, part of the shin-hanga ("new prints") movement.

He was born Ohara Matao; it is thought that he started training in painting and design at the Ishikawa Prefecture Technical School in 1889-1893. He also studied painting with Suzuki Kason (1860 ? 1919), although accounts differ on whether this happened during his school years or after he moved to Tokyo in the middle to late 1890s.

In Tokyo, he produced some woodblock triptychs illustrating episodes of the Russo-Japanese War, but most of his production was prints of animals (kacho-ga). He worked at first with publishers Akiyama Buemon (Kokkeido?) and Matsuki Heikichi (Daikokuya), signing his work Koson. Starting around 1926, he became associated with the publisher Watanabe Shozaburo, and signed his work Shoson. He also worked with the publisher Kawaguchi, signing his works Hoson.

Through his association with Watanabe, Ohara's work was exhibited abroad, and his prints sold well, particularly in the United States. He was active designing prints until at least 1935, and died at his home in Tokyo in 1945. (from Wikipedia)

The artworks displayed on JAODB are not for sale.

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Site copyright: Dr Ross F. Walker. Copyright of the displayed artwork: the original owner. The information contained on this website is provided as an educational resource to scholars and collectors of Japanese art. JAODB would like to thank the caretakers of these art items for their contribution to this database. The items displayed here are not being offered for sale. Unless otherwise indicated the displayed item is not in the ownership of JAODB or Ross Walker.