Kitao Masayoshi 北尾政美: Eurasian Jay and Camellia Flowers

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Artist: Keisai 蕙斎 (Kuwagata Shôshin 鍬形紹真 Kitao Masayoshi 北尾政美)
Title: Eurasian Jay and Camellia Branch
Date: 1789 

A Eurasian Jay (Garrus glandarius; kakesu 懸巣) seems to contemplate the beauty of a blooming camellia, gazing intently at its bright yellow center. (In some publications it has been misidentified as a sparrow hawk, yôkin.) There is deluxe blindprinting on the white of the variegated flowers at left as well as in the tiny white feathers of the bird. 

The Met Museum notes that the conceit of this album is that the birds were “imported” from China via Nagasaki–however, this bird is commonly found in Japan. Hillier notes that this series has an “exotic” flavor, as Masayoshi based his drawings on those of a Chinese artist.  Hillier also notes that Masayoshi was unusual in that unlike most of the Ukiyo-e artists, he was not tied to Edo or the normal range of [ukiyo-e] subjects. Terrific and scarce kacho-e; this edition matches the Met Museum example. 

Condition: Excellent impression and color; very good condition.  Small ink notations verso, upper margin. Clean and bright overall.
Dimensions: 25.8 x 39 cm
Literature: Jack Hillier, “The Art of the Japanese Book” (1987), pages 469-470. See MET Museum. RISD museum, MFA.