Artist: Kokyo Taniguchi (1864-1915)
Title: Heron Maiden, Sagi Musume
Date: 1918 (posthumous)
Publisher: Sato Shotaro
Dimensions: 43.2 x 27.2 cm
Kokyo Taniguchi was one of the most important artists of the Meiji period known for his Bird & Flower, and Beauty prints. A native of Kyoto, Taniguchi studied under the artist Kono Bairei (1844-1895). He later founded the Kyoto School and became a teacher at both the Kyoto City School of Fine Arts and Crafts and the Kyoto Specialist School of Painting.
This print, ‘Heron Maiden’, is a fine example of Taniguchi’s Beauty prints. The work has its basis in the eponymous folk tale which resembles the famous Russian story Swan Lake, and is often performed as a dance or in Kabuki theatre,
In the tale, a man finds an injured heron and cares for it until it is strong enough to fly again. Later on in his life he meets a woman who then becomes his wife, making their living by selling the silk brocades which she weaves. One day when the husband chances upon his wife at work, he realises that she is actually the heron he had once saved, causing their relationship to sadly end. Taniguchi’s Heron Maiden is classically mysterious and veiled in all white garments.