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40 Beautiful Vintage Japanese Iris Paintings In The Public Domain

This is a collection of exquisite Japanese Iris paintings from about 1910. Unfortunately, the original artist is unknown. But they were so lovely I just had to share them.

The prints were donnated the Copper Hewitt Museum by Mary Rutherford Jay.

These are beautiful artistic flower paintings rather than the usual free botanical illustrations shared on this site.

I particularly enjoy this collection of vintage flower prints as irises are one of my favourite flowers. My family all know that when buying me flowers, I’ll be thrilled with a bunch of Irises.

With each painting, Japanese characters give each flower a name, which has been translated into English. Sometimes the term relates to specific characteristics. Other times, it just seems to be a bit of poetic licence!

40 Vintage Japanese Iris paintings pin

Interesting Tid Bits About Iris’s

  • There are about 310 different species of Irises.
  • From Europe to Asia and North America, nearly all of the iris species are found in the Northern Hemisphere’s temperate regions.
  • The flowers are named after Iris, the Greek God of the Rainbow
  • The iris is a beautiful showy flower that comes in various shapes, colours and sizes. It’s an attractive plant even when it is not in bloom, so it is a popular ornamental plant.
  • The Fleur-De-Lys is a stylised representation of the iris flower.
  • As well as being a symbol of the French Monarchy the Fleur-De-Lys is also the symbol of the scouts.
  • Vincent van Gough famous for his iris paintings is believed to have been inspired by the Japanese Woodblock paintings of flowers.
  • The iris is one of the birth flowers for February.
  • According to the Victorian Language of Flowers, the iris has different meanings depending on the colour.
    • Purple -Royalty & wisdom
    • Yellow – Passion
    • Blue- Faith & hope
    • White – purity

How To Download Iris Paintings

All the Japanese Iris prints are in the Public Domain and, therefore, copyright free. To download the print you want, click on the title above it, and a high-resolution image will open in a new window on your browser.

If you click on that image you will be able to save and print it

The colours of these irises are stunning; my favourite blue iris is No. 17 Cloisonnée, magenta iris No. 39 Sword Dance, and purple iris No. 12 Fighting Bear. They all look fabulous framed on a gallery wall and are a fantastic resource for decoupage crafts.

Japanese Flower Paintings 1-10

No. 1 Under The Moonlight

Gekka no Nami translates as under the moonlight. A beautiful white iris, it has three very large silvery-white petals with a golden-rayed centre

Gekka no Nami Under Moon Light white iris painting

No. 2 Lion’s Dance

Shishi-odori translates as Lion Dance. Deep velvety purple, shaded blue; six petals.

Lion's Dance Shishi Ordori Japanese Iris painting

No.3 Sky Between Clouds

Kumoma no Sora tranlates as sky between clouds. A White iris with a strongly marked sky-blue zone and mottled in the same shade, yellow blotches petaloid stigmas white margined lavender-blue, 6 petals.

Sky Between Clouds- Kumoma no Sora

No. 4 Band Of Clouds

Kumo no Obi translates as Band of Clouds. Also known as Iris ensata (Japanese water iris), it is extensively grown as an ornamental plant throughout the world’s temperate zones.  The flower, appearing in midsummer, is purple with a flash of yellow on the falls.

Band of clouds

No. 5 Bird Of Paradise Castle

A large magenta iris.

bird of paradise flower

No. 6 The Wings of The Lightning

A large red flower.

Wings of the Lightning large red iris

No. 7 Love Meditating on Its Consort

Sofuren in Japanese actually translates as Husband Love. A large painted iris, the outer perianth leaves in mottled light purple. Inner leaves white, with purple tips.

Sofuren japanese iris illustration painting

8. The True White Crane

A large iris, the outer perianth leaves white, the inner leaves deep blue above.

White Crane japanese Iris painting

No. 9. Brocade of Flowers

Hana no Nishiki tranlates from Japanese as flower brocade. A large iris, outer perianth leaves magenta; inner leaves white with purple tips.

A large iris, outer perianth leaves magenta; inner leaves white with purple tips

 No. 10 Yomonoumi. The open sea from the 4 points

A large light blue iris, the inner perianth leaves, purple. Upper portion of leaves, stem, bud.

The Open Sea From the four points Japanese Flower painting

Japanese Iris Paintings 11-20

No. 11 The Singing Bird

A large iris, perianth leaves in mottled red-violet, running to purple and yellow at the center. Inner leaves white, purple at tips.

Japanese flower painting The Singing Bird No. 11

No. 12 Fighting Bear

A large deep purple iris, the inner perianth leaves white, with purple tips.

Purple Japanese Iris painting

No. 13 Enjoyment In Peace

A large red iris, inner perianth leaves white with purple tips.

Enjoyment in Peace

No. 14 Flower of Hollyhock

A large iris, outer perianth leaves light purple, inner leaves deep purple.

Japanese Iris purple

No. 15 Dome of the Sky

Uchu translates from Japanese as Universe. A large white and blue Japanese iris painting.

A Japanese painting of a blue and white iris flower

No. 16 Chinese Cleopatra

Also known as Iris typhifoli, from China. The ornamental flower has slender, twisted leaves, a deep green slender hollow stem and 2 violet-blue flowers.

Chinese Cleopatra Iris

No. 17 Cloisonnée

A large iris, outer perianth leaves in varying shades of light blue; inner leaves in light purple with deep purple tips.

Cloisonnée

No. 18 Cloud Robe

A large iris, outer perianth leaves magenta; inner leaves deep purple.

A large iris, outer perianth leaves magenta; inner leaves deep purple

No. 19 The Blessing of Heaven

Kiminomegumi tranlsates from Japanese to Your Grace. A large iris, outer perianth leaves light blue; inner leaves magenta and purple.

A large iris, outer perianth leaves light blue; inner leaves magenta and purple.

No. 20 Above the Clouds

Kumo no Uye translates from Japanese to Above th Clouds.

vintage japanese flower painting of purple iris

Iris Prints 21-30

No. 21 Brocade of Yezo

A large iris in mottled purple.

A large iris in mottled purple.

No. 22 Anger of the Lion

Shishi-Ikari translates from Japanese as Lion Anger. A large iris, outer perianth leaves deep red; inner leaves white with purple tips.

A large iris, outer perianth leaves deep red; inner leaves white with purple tips.

No. 23 The Ogre’s Island

A large deep purple iris.

A large deep purple iris painting

No. 24 White Dawn

Sano no Watshi actually translates as Sum of The Differnce?

A large white iris. Upper portion of leaves, stem, bud.

No. 25 The Pride of Yedo

Yedo-Jiman translates as I’m Proud of You. A large iris, outer perianth leaves deep blue; inner leaves purple and white with blue tips.

A large iris, outer perianth leaves deep blue; inner leaves purple and white with blue tips.

No. 26 Cave of The Hermitess

A large iris, outer perianth leaves in mottled magenta; inner leaves purple.

A large iris, outer perianth leaves in mottled magenta; inner leaves purple.

No. 27 The Feather of The Bird

A large iris, outer perianth leaves purple; inner leaves magenta and purple.

A large iris, outer perianth leaves purple; inner leaves magenta and purple.

No. 28 White Waterfall

A large vintage Japanese white iris painting.

vintage japanese iris painting white waterfall

No. 29 Waves on Shiga Beach

A large iris, outer perianth leaves purple with rays of white; inner leaves white with purple tips.

A large iris, outer perianth leaves purple with rays of white; inner leaves white with purple tips.

No. 30 Torch Light

Kagaribi translates from Japanese to bonfire. A large iris, outer perianth leaves deep red with rays of white; inner leaves white with magenta tips.

A large iris, outer perianth leaves deep red with rays of white; inner leaves white with magenta tips.

Vintage Iris Paintings 31-40

No 31 Colour of The Lake

Kosui no Iro translates as the Colour of Lake Water. A large white Japanese iris painting with light blue tints.

Kosui no Iro translates as the Colour of Lake Water. A large white Japanese iris painting with light blue tints.

No. 32 Bear and Its Cub

Komochiguma is the Japanese for Babybear. Two irises, outer perianth leaves in deep blue-purple; inner leaves purple.

Komochiguma is the Japanese for Babybear. Two irises, outer perianth leaves in deep blue-purple; inner leaves purple.

No. 33 Hall of The Storks

A large Japanese painted iris, outer perianth leaves light blue with lavender tips; inner leaves white with purple tips.

A large Japanese painted iris, outer perianth leaves light blue with lavender tips; inner leaves white with purple tips.

No. 34 Waterfall of The Maples

Momiji no Taki translates as Autumn waterfall. A large iris, outer perianth leaves violet; inner leaves white with deep magenta tips.

Vintage japanese iris painting A large iris, outer perianth leaves violet; inner leaves white with deep magenta tips.

No. 35 Flower in The Wine Cup

Japanese Iris paintings no. 35. A large iris, white with magenta tips.

Japanese Iris paintings no. 35. A large iris, white with magenta tips.

No. 36 The Mirror of Yedo

A large iris, outer perianth leaves deep magenta; inner leaves white with violet tips.

Vintage Japanese Iris paintings A large iris, outer perianth leaves deep magenta; inner leaves white with violet tips.

No. 37 Fireflies of Ugi

A large iris, outer perianth leaves blue-violet to blue at center; inner leaves violet.

A large iris, outer perianth leaves blue-violet to blue at center; inner leaves violet.

No. 38 Moon of the Frosty Night

A large iris, outer perianth leaves white; inner leaves with green tints.

A large iris, outer perianth leaves white; inner leaves with green tints.

No. 39 Sword Dance

A large iris in deep magenta-purple.

Vintage Japanese Iris Paintings

No. 40 Wave on a Rugged Shore

A large iris, the outer perianth leaves in mottled blue, the inner leaves white with purple tips.

These beautiful iris paintings are one of the many vintage Japanese prints on the site, such as the art prints of Shin-Bijutsukai.

The site has cherry blossom drawings; it is the flower most associated with Japan. Lilies are often mistaken for irises; this site also has vintage lily illustrations.

Kathy

Wednesday 23rd of November 2022

Claire, These are beautiful! Thank you for sharing them. The names do go with the flowers but the last one, #40 Wave on a Rugged Shore, really looks exactly like ocean waves. Kathy

claire

Wednesday 23rd of November 2022

Thank you, Kathy. Yes, I do like the poetic names it adds an extra bit of interest.