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32. Kôno Bairei (1844-1895)
Gama kaeru, Bullfrog
Signed: Ômu
Seals: Bairei
Technique: colours on paper, mounted album leaf 16.9 x 23.4
Mounting: green gold brocade and beige silk
blue and white porcelain rollers, 109 x 37.6
Condition: very good

Gassen no ao kusa wa ra ni hikigaeru.
In the green battlefield a toad [turns up].


The ‘green battlefield’ refers to frogs and toads holding a croaking contest.

Bairei was one of the most important painters in Kyôto during the Meiji period.
At the age of eight Bairei started as a pupil in the Maruyama studio of Nakajima Raishô (1796-1871); and with Shiokawa Bunrin (1801-1877) he studied the Shijô style of painting. Trying to become an even more complete artist he also studied the Nanga style with Nakanishi Kôseki (1807-1884) and Maeda Chôdô (1817-1878). Bairei, Kubota Beisen (1852-1906) and Tanomura Chokunyû (1814-1907) established the Kyôto Prefectural School of Painting in 1880. Together with Suzuki Hyakunen (1825-1891) he became the head of the Kanô section. Perhaps Bairei's importance lies primarily in the fact that he was an inspired teacher. He taught some of the most talented painters active in the first decades of the 20th century.

Shiga 1990
Roberts p. 8
Araki p. 2263
Conant p. 310-311
Hillier p. 355-356