Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Japanese Falconry

These woodblock illustrations of falcon 
training come from a mid-1860s
album called 'Ehon Taka Kagami' 
(~The Illustrated Mirror of Falconry)

"Kawanabe Kyôsai (Gyôsai) (1831-89) was a Kano painter, printmaker, and illustrator, the son of a Samurai. At the age of six he entered the studio of Utagawa Kuniyoshi^, and from the age of nine became a student of the academic Kano school, studying under Maemura Towa and then Tohaku Chinshin, who gave him the name "Toiku". He exhibited at the Vienna International Exposition in 1873, and at the first and second Paris Japanese Art Exhibitions of 1883 and 1884. In the early years of the Meiji period (1868-1912) he attained considerable popularity with his political caricatures, for which he was arrested and imprisoned in 1870. His famous 'Kyosai Gadan' (1887), an attempt to show a variety of traditional Japanese and Chinese painting styles, was widely appreciated in Europe, and was issued with English captions for the export market.

Kyosai's 'Ehon Taka Kagami' is the major resource on Japanese falconry, with wonderful woodcuts of hawks, field work, breeding, hoods, gloves, and other associated tools and items of equipment. It records the ancient Japanese methods of care, raising, and training of the Siberian Goshawk, considered the best variety for use in falconry since ancient times. Harting 371. Schwerdt III p. 245; see G. Schack. Kyosais Falkenjagd." [source]

"A major resource on Japanese falconry, the capture, taming & teaching of falcons, the grooming, feeding and culture of the bird of prey. Wonderful illustrations of falcons, the associated tools & equipment, stands, methods of warming in winter before the hunt, winter hunting, respect for. On the flushing to expose game birds to be hunted by the falcon, the kill, capture of the quarry. How to tether, hoods, master's gloves and other accoutrements, field work, breeding, bathing &c." [source: removed ebay auction listing]

Ehon Taka Kagami 8

Ehon Taka Kagami 15

Ehon Taka Kagami 12

Ehon Taka Kagami 7

Ehon Taka Kagami 3

Ehon Taka Kagami 4

Ehon Taka Kagami 10

Ehon Taka Kagami 15

Ehon Taka Kagami 6

Ehon Taka Kagami 5

Ehon Taka Kagami 13

Ehon Taka Kagami 1

"This magnificent work was issued once in a single first and only edition, and is complete in five volumes. The first series: 3 vols. were published in 1877, followed by the second series consisting of 2 volumes in 1879. [..]
This marvelous work uses crushed mica as an integral part of the hand-made Washi paper. These tiny flecks of mica give a sparkle to the illustrations, and are especially effective on the feather portion of the falcons. Mica gives a realistic and "high-tech" touch to the wood-cut printing technique. [..] The collation of the set is: vol. 1,3,4,5, each have 10p.; vol. 2 has 11p. Every page is nicely illustrated, it contains some 111 illustrations in all. [..]

This work is the most comprehensive single monograph devoted to Japanese falconry ever published in the 19th century or in prior periods. Gyôsai's superb artistic skill and solid ability to capture the essence and feel of real and live Japanese falconry has yet to be surpassed in woodcut media. The application of mica dust is now a lost art, and never done. The work outlines the ancient methods and culture of the falcon. This work records the last of the ancient falconry methods of care, raising and training, again a lost art in Japan." [source]

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Sci-Art Pedigree

This striking set of hand-painted botanical and 
insect prints was produced by Johanna Helena 
Herolt, a lesser known member of the 17th c. 
German-Dutch Merian family of artists.

The Merian dynasty of artists really began in Switzerland with Johanna Helena Herolt's grandfather, Matthäus Merian the Elder (d. 1650), a renowned engraver and publisher who married into the equally talented de Bry family of Frankfurt artist-printers. Herolt's mother was only four years of age when her father died, but with encouragement from step-father artist, Jacob Moreel, Maria Sibylla Merian [link] pursued a highly successful career in Europe and South America as an artist-scientist. She married (and later divorced) German portraitist and still life artist, Johann Andreas Graff (d. 1701),

Maria Sibylla Merian produced ground-breaking depictions of insect life cycles with associated plants, and her two daughters (including Johanna Helena Herolt, née Graaf) were intimately involved in the design, engraving and colouring of her mother's book illustrations. Herolt's other principal claim to fame was her hand-colouring contributions to the exceptional series on Amsterdam's botanical gardens, the Commelins' 'Horti Medici Amstelodamensis' [link], 1697.

Flor Solis (Sonnenblume)
Flor Solis (Sonnenblume)

Vritilaria (Schachblume)
Vritilaria (Schachblume)

Een Bloem Pot (Eine Blumenvase)
Een Bloem Pot (Eine Blumenvase)

Inula Helenium (Echter Alant)
Inula Helenium (Echter Alant)


Shaert en wilde Violen (Stiefmütterchen und wilde Veilchen)
Shaert en wilde Violen (Stiefmütterchen und wilde Veilchen)

Plauwe Passions Ploem (Blaue Passionsblume)
Plauwe Passions Ploem (Blaue Passionsblume)

Nooten Twe Soort (Zwei Sorten Nüsse)
Nooten Twe Soort (Zwei Sorten Nüsse)

Pflaumen, blau, rot und gelb
Pflaumen, blau, rot und gelb

Vier Animonen (Vier Anemonen)
Vier Animonen (Vier Anemonen)

Een Bloem Pot (Eine Blumenvase) a
Een Bloem Pot (Eine Blumenvase)

Aerd Bessen (Erdbeeren)
Aerd Bessen (Erdbeeren)

Geele en Roode Roosen (Gelbe und rote Rosen)
Geele en Roode Roosen (Gelbe und rote Rosen)

"Johanna Helena Herolt, born in Frankfurt, Germany, was the eldest daughter of painter, draftsman, and engraver Johann Andreas Graff (1637-1701), and well-known insect and botanical painter and nature researcher Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717). Along with her sister, Dorothea Maria Graff (1678-1743), Johanna Helena learned to paint from her renowned mother and father. 
Dr. Sam Segal [..] writes:
“Johanna Helena Herolt is, or was until recently, an underestimated artist, who had been working closely with her famous mother. She assisted her already ill mother during her last years by finishing works, sometimes signed by both. Johanna married the merchant Jacob Hendrik Herolt from Bacharach (Germany) in 1692. She went to Surinam, with her husband, in 1711 where she did what her mother had done before: collecting and drawing flowers and insects. She died after 1723, possibly in Surinam.” "[source]

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Fiore dei Liberi

Fior di Battaglia = Flower of Battle = Flos Duellatorum,
a combat manual created in the first decade of 15th cent.
"Like people today, people of the medieval and Renaissance periods read how-to books. This manuscript by the greatest fencing-master of the late 1300s, Fiore Furlan dei Liberi da Premariacco, instructs the reader in the intricacies of combat. Lively illustrations of charging horses and armored knights accompany the text. Through words and pictures, the manuscript teaches a variety of fighting techniques including single combat on foot with sword, dagger, and ax[e], and also mounted combat in all its variations. Nicolò III d'Este, ruler of Ferrara, ordered at least three copies of this text, including this one. Nicolò's interest in such a manual was quite natural, since fighting played an important role in the education of young nobleman, and he himself was raising three sons." [link]
See the *combat* tag for a range of previous BibliOdyssey posts on swordsmanship, weaponry, munitions, war arts, defensive emplacements &c.

The parchment manuscript (~20.5 x 30cm) below features illustrations executed in tempera colours, gold leaf, silver leaf, and ink. This sample of manuscript images was chosen from among the 85+ leaves of the manuscript, and they have been variously cropped and lightly cleaned in the background at times.

Fiore dei Liberi - Ludwig XV 13, Fol. 32 (Aiming Points on the Body) a

Fiore dei Liberi: "As a young man I desired to learn armed fighting, including the art of fighting in the lists with spear, poleaxe, sword, dagger and unarmed grappling, on foot and on horseback, armored and unarmored. In addition I wanted to study how weapons were made, and the characteristics of each weapon for both offense and defense, particularly as they applied to mortal combat.
I also desired to learn the wondrous secrets of this art known only by very few men in this world. And these secrets will give you mastery of attack and defense, and make you invincible, for victory comes easily to a man who has the skill and mastery described above. 
I learned these skills from many German and Italian masters and their senior students, in many provinces and many cities, and at great personal cost and expense.
And by the grace of God I also acquired so much knowledge at the courts of noblemen, princes, dukes, marquises, counts, knights and squires, that increasingly I was myself asked to teach. My services were requested many times by noblemen, knights and their squires, who wanted me to teach them the art of armed combat both for fighting at the barrier and for mortal combat. And so I taught this art to many Italians and Germans and other noblemen who were obliged to fight at the barrier, as well as to numerous noblemen who did not actually compete. [..] 
It’s my opinion that in this art there are few men in the world who can really call themselves Masters, and it is my goal to be remembered as one of them. To that end I have created this book all about this martial art and the things related to it, including weapons, their applications, and other aspects too." {partial translation of Preface: source}

Unarmed Combat

Combat with Rondel and Dagger

Combat with Dagger

Combat with Dagger and Sword

Four Allegorical Figures

lines of Sword attack strikes

Combat with Sword

Combat with Pollaxe

Combat with Lance

Equestrian Combat with Lance

Equestrian Combat with Sword

Fiore dei Liberi - Ludwig XV 13, Fol. 47 (Two Horses) a

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Peking Opera Figures

Album of 100 Portraits of Personages from Chinese Opera

Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Date: late 19th–early 20th century
Culture: China
Medium: Album of fifty leaves; ink, color, and gold on silk
Artist: Unidentified

Chinese Opera figure l

Chinese Opera figure b

Chinese Opera figure m

Chinese Opera figure i

Chinese Opera figure c

Chinese Opera figure h

Chinese Opera figure f

Chinese Opera figure

late 19th century watercolour sketch of member of Peking Opera company

Chinese Opera figure k

Chinese Opera figure d

Chinese Opera figure g

Chinese Opera figure e

Chinese Opera figure o

Chinese Opera figure n

Chinese Opera figure j

"In the opera boom of the late nineteenth century, albums were turned to a new purpose: documenting the variety and vibrancy of stage culture in all its multicolored splendor. This album records in detail the makeup and costume of one hundred characters drawn from nine plays. Each character is identified with an accompanying inscription, and the plays are named at the top right of nine of the leaves in slightly larger script."

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