Empress Kômyô

Accession Number
1987/1.365

Title
Empress Kômyô

Artist(s)
Kōno Bairei

Object Creation Date
1868

Medium & Support
hanging scroll, ink and color on paper

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

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
Painting

Primary Object Type
hanging scroll

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
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1 Related Resource

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

& Author Notes

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