Monday, June 4, 2012


Illustrated is a simple, lyrical Haiga kakejiku by Ningen Kokuho, Fujiwara Kei (1899-1983). Like his pottery, the painting and calligraphy are simple, direct and casual with tones of black, grey, light green and indigo washes portraying what is presumably Iris Sibirica, Siberian Iris with  haiku calligraphy running down the right hand side of the scroll. Fujiwara Kei was also known for his calligraphy and paintings and a number of his pots have calligraphy and Momoyama inspired simple imagery inscribed on them. For a signature, he has used his seal, seen on most of his pottery boxes adding the only red punctuation to the scroll. Though small in scale, it is an evocative scroll that has a rather large presence and an honest glimpse into how he perceived the subject.

Fujiwara Kei (1899-1983) had a late start to making pottery when he went to apprentice with Kaneshige Toyo. Unlike his master, Fujiwara Kei was interested and dedicated to creating works in the Ko-Bizen style. His approach to Bizen pottery is probably best characterized as the pursuit of simplicity and honesty in clay, which would seem to be the same approach he applied to this scroll painting.