Empress Kômyô

Accession Number

Empress Kômyô

Kōno Bairei

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
hanging scroll, ink and color on paper

50 3/8 in (127.95 cm);14 3/16 in x 2 3/8 in (36.04 cm x 6.03 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. J.E. Val-Mejias, M.D.

Subject matter
Kono Bairei was a member of the Ukiyo-e school and was a master of Kacho-e style of painting that focused on birds and flowers unlike this painting here. That said, Kacho-e is inspired much by the Buddhist religion which bears much connection to the woman in the piece. The painting's subject, Empress Komyo (as indicated by the title) was an empress during the Nara period and was a devout Buddhist as well as a calligrapher. There are many legends about her dedication to the religion as well as an infamous instance where she helped Ashuku Nyorai, perhaps the man painted beside her in this hanging scroll. 

Physical Description
This is a hanging scroll depicting two figures and a nature scene in ink and color. The two figures at the bottom of the scroll appear to be a man and a woman. The man is thin and painted primarily in brown. The woman beside him wears an ornate-looking kimono with a pink garment. They are both seated and looking towards a river in the distance. There is an inscription on the bottom left in two lines with a seal on the lefthand line. 

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
hanging scroll

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

1 Related Resource

Ink and Realisms
(Part of: Artist Associations and Art Movements)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted