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  • Thumbnail for Pair of Japanese landscapes
    Pair of Japanese landscapes by Tani Bunchô (1763-1840)

    27 ½" x 74". The brushstroke’s ability to balance the creation of “space†(kukan) with the needs of “spacing†(kuhaku) is clear in the trees in the Union College Bunchô Scrolls, where there is an acceptable image of foliage, but on closer inspection, the leaves are seen to be as carefully separated as the tarashikomi plants in the Union College Tosa Screens. In addition, the Union College Bunchô Scrolls show many brushstrokes in which both sides of the line are used to render forms. We see such “double edged brushstrokes†in the contours of the mountains, where the smooth run of the top of a line creates the overall rounded form of a peak, but the bottom has a series of bumps that render boulders within. Similarly, a single stroke suffices to create the branch of a tree, but because the two sides of the resulting line are different, the limb thins and has knobs and twists. When Ukiyo-e cutters carved such “double-edged brushstrokes†into the block, they had to cut the two sides of each line separately anyway, so it was easy to reproduce their differing movements.

  • Thumbnail for Pair of Japanese landscapes
    Pair of Japanese landscapes by Tani Bunchô (1763-1840)

    27 ½" x 74". The brushstroke’s ability to balance the creation of “space†(kukan) with the needs of “spacing†(kuhaku) is clear in the trees in the Union College Bunchô Scrolls, where there is an acceptable image of foliage, but on closer inspection, the leaves are seen to be as carefully separated as the tarashikomi plants in the Union College Tosa Screens. In addition, the Union College Bunchô Scrolls show many brushstrokes in which both sides of the line are used to render forms. We see such “double edged brushstrokes†in the contours of the mountains, where the smooth run of the top of a line creates the overall rounded form of a peak, but the bottom has a series of bumps that render boulders within. Similarly, a single stroke suffices to create the branch of a tree, but because the two sides of the resulting line are different, the limb thins and has knobs and twists. When Ukiyo-e cutters carved such “double-edged brushstrokes†into the block, they had to cut the two sides of each line separately anyway, so it was easy to reproduce their differing movements.