Haiga and Haiku. Part 4.

The images and text are from Haiku, Volume 1, Eastern Culture by R. H. Blyth, published by Hokuseido in Japan. No year of copyright.

The following text is from the book. Any bold passages are intended for emphasis and are not part of the original text.

Haiku and haiga avoid the grim, the violent, the dramatic and intense. They aspire to be deep without depth. Tohaku portrays (below)


the old tree, pine-needles, bamboo leaves and monkey in the same spirit as Basho’s verse written about a hundred years later: 

First winter rain;

The monkey also seems to wish

For a small straw rain-coat.

The Chinese were aware not only of the vaster aspects of nature, but saw the peculiar value of the small and apparently insignificant. Such a picture as Apples and a Small Bird, by Chosho (below), must have impressed the Japanese mind deeply.


The painter is celebrated for his power of delineating fruit, but here he has adopted the Eastern method of hiding what it is wished to show. The apples are hidden in space by the leaves, and in composition by the bird, and yet they are the one essential of the picture. Chosho, a painter of the 13th century, is recorded as getting up early every morning and going out into the flower garden, using the dew to paint the flowers, leaves, and insects.

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