Hiyodori and Nanten (南天にひよどり)

Designer: Nakayama Sugaku | Carver: David Bull | Printer: Yasue Tsushima

Paper size: 15cm by 11cm | Enlargement | Shipping Code: [HC] ? ( Change currency: $ / £ / )

Price: $ 40.00£ 32.25€ 36.75

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Description: (From Dave's original notes): The designer of this print was Nakayama Sugaku, who worked in the very late Edo period, just before the birth of the Meiji-era, and who left a set of designs for a print series that might be best translated as ‘48 Lifelike Birds’.

The prints in the series are quite modern and forward-looking for their time. They predate the era of photography of course, and when I look over some of the images in the series, I find myself wondering how he managed to study so many different birds in such detail. They seem really quite accurate.

I myself can vouch for the accuracy of this image, because there is a sizeable flock of hiyodori (Bulbul) living in the area just outside my workroom. There are about a dozen of them, and they move around the area all in a group together, looking for food. All summer they fly up into the inner branches of trees, and twisting their heads this way and that, look for insects hiding on the lower surfaces of leaves.

They occasionally perch on the balcony railing right in front of my workbench window, and I had the wonderful pleasure one day while I was making this print, of lifting my head up from carving the rather bedraggled-looking head feathers, to see the real thing - looking just as bedraggled - sitting just a couple of feet in front of me!

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