The Shin-Bijutsukai was a turn of the century (1901-1902) design magazine full of wonderful vintage Japanese art prints.
The wonderful designs in the magazine were from the best Japanese artists at the time. All the prints are original Japanese woodblock prints. They reflected aspects of Japanese life from everyday surroundings, homes, gardens, shops, fabric, paper, etc.
Another great example of Japanese woodblock prints is those of Utagawa Kuniyoshi.
Even though the vintage prints are from the turn of the century some can appear quite contemporary and modern. Japanese style has been a great influence of western art and design especially Japanese woodblock printing.
Many of the Japanese art prints in Shin-Bijutsukai are a reflection of nature and the seasons. The celebration of nature and the seasons is deeply ingrained into the Japanese culture. Hence, these elements have a big influence on the Japanese design aesthetic.
Japanese design is also very geometric, because shapes have much deeper, cultural meanings.
Floral patterns also abound in Japanese design. Hanakotoba is the study of flowers and how each flower has a spiritual meaning. According to Japanese tradition, pink symbolizes healing, red symbolizes love, and white symbolizes virtue.
Comparison of Japanese Art and Chinese Art
In the past, I have curated a collection of traditional Chinese patterns. There are some similarities between Chinese and Japanese Art. They both love to reflect nature and use flowers in their designs.
The Japanese focus on cherry blossom, camellia, hydrangea, and chrysanthemum flowers. The Chinese use more peony, chrysanthemum, plum blossom, yulan flower, lotus, and Chinese rose in their floral design.
Many Japanese art prints feature pine trees, bamboo, evergreen and maple tree in their design. Chinese artist uses the same trees but also commonly feature the willow tree.
Japanese art often reflects the country’s geography with volcanoes and snowy mountains like the iconic Mount Fuji. These popular vistas can be seen in the collection of Japanese travel posters. Whereas, the mountains in Chinese artworks are rockier and rugged.
There is also a difference in the feel between both arts. Chinese art is meticulous, fine detail, and lots of small brushwork. Japanese art is almost the opposite, with large bold brushes being used in a sweeping and loose style.
If thinking about both art styles in terms of Western Art, Chinese art feels more classical or romantic. Traditional Japanese art feels more like impressionist and expressionist art.
Printing From The Shin-Bijutsukai
These images can be enjoyed as a reference resource for surface pattern designers such as textile designers, illustrators, graphic designers, and other artists. I think some of the prints would look fabulous as wallpaper or gift wrap. T
These pages from Shin-Bijutsukai would also look lovely printed and framed in a gallery wall.
To download the Japanese art print that you want from the magazine just click on the title above that print and a large image should open as a new tab in your browser.
This image can then either be printed straight way from your home printer or sent to an online print shop.
If printing from home I recommend using a high-quality printer paper, either a matte photo paper or for a more artistic feel you can buy watercolor paper for inkjet printers. Just make sure that you go into your printers advance menu settings a choose the highest quality print option available.
(By the way, there is another collection of similar Japanese-style art prints by Watanabe Seitei from the Bijutsu Sekai art magazine.)
The Shin-Bijutsukai Design Prints
This vintage Japanese print is from page 10 of Shin-Bijutsukai. Blossom flowers with a purple sky background.
Print from page 19 of Shin-Bijutsukai. This looks like Mount Fuji with blossom two classic symbols of Japanese culture.
Page 29 of the magazine. The blue looks like waves but I’m not sure that is what they represent.
With Japan being made up of over 6000 islands and over 400 of those inhabited it’s not surprising the sea and waves feature in lots of vintage Japanese art.
Page 30 of Shin-Bijutsukai. These graphic flowers look like parasols.
Vintage Japanese art print of stars on an orange background.
This art print looks like blossom on blue waves, another 2 classic Japanese symbols.
This is a very regular pattern print of pink flowers on a green background. The Japanese art print is from page 41 of Shin-Bijutsukai.
From page 44, this print of blossom on black reminds me of the designs you get on fancy origami paper.
I love the colors in this print from page 45 of the magazine. Four colorful circles of nature on a blue and blossom background.
This vintage Japanese art print looks almost Chinese in style with pink roses on a pale green background.
A regular pattern from page 78 of Shin-Bijutsukai magazine.
Page 80 of the magazine, geometric butterflies.
From page 81 of the Shin-Bijutsukai magazine.
Vintage Japanese art print form page 85 of pine trees on the hill side.
A geometric pattern of butterflies and leaves from page 91.
From page 97 of Shin-Bijutsukai magazine.
Vintage Japanese print from page 106 from the magazine.
The blue images on this print from the magazine look like ducks to me.
Vintage print from page 128 of Shin-Bijutsukai magazine.
A very colorful and busy print of blossom and flower patterns from page 135 of the magazine.
Print from page 154 of the magazine.
This print is from page 158 of the magazine.
A colorful Japanese print of leaves and blossom, from page 161 of the magazine.
Abstract flower print from page 165.
This colorful Japanese art print is from page 185.
This vintage illustration is from page 204 of the Japanese magazine.
Cranes are another important symbol in Japanese art. For the Japanese, the crane represents good fortune and longevity. They refer to the crane as the “bird of happiness”.
A more abstract Japanese illustration from page 214 of the magazine, Shin-Bijutsukai.
Vintage Japanese landscape image from page 216 of the magazine.
A vintage illustration of blossom flowers on a bright blue background (page 255).
The red flower on this Japanese graphic print look like a peony to me.
The flowers in this illustration, look like hydrangeas to me.
Hanging cloth from branch page 258 from Shin-bijutsukai magazine.
Multicolored blossom abstract illustration from page 283.
Print from page 301 of the magazine.
A pretty illustration of multicolored butterflies from page 307.
Another pretty Japanese illustration from page 315 of the magazine.
If you enjoyed these prints then you will probably like the collection of vintage Art Nouveau flower prints on the site. Or the wonderful colorful pattern prints from Owen Jones’s Grammar of Ornament and the interior floral designs of William Morris. There are more wonderful prints here if you are interested in color and pattern charts.
More vintage floral pattern designs can be found here.
If like me and you love all things Japanese then you should check out these interesting and colorful old maps of Japan.
These papers would be great for origami and you can find some ideas here.