Chihiro’s Illustrations from Her Later Years
Chihiro’s late style features watercolors with vigorous brush strokes, using thick brushes with lots of water. During this period, Chihiro did not create drafts; once she had an image, she let her paint brush run free. With the advancement of printing technologies, it became possible to reproduce expressions created by her longtime favorite technique, Tarashikomi, with even greater fineness. This technique was known to have been used by Tawaraya Sotatsu and Ogata Korin around the 17th century. Tarashikomi can make complex colors by applying the same color or a different color to a color that has not yet dried. In addition, Chihiro started using a technique called Mokkotsu-ho, by which objects are drawn without using outlines. Also, based on her learning of Kadensho (Fushi Kaden, the Flowering Spirit) by Zeami and sympathizing with the philosophy, “If it is hidden, it is the Flower; if it is not hidden, it is not the Flower,” Chihiro started using bold gaps and blank spaces, influenced by the traditional Eastern and Japanese sense of art.