February 1, 2023

A Year of Rabbits

         Sure I’m a little late for the lunar New Year celebrations, but I’m happy to celebrate rabbits every year, and every time of year.  Evidence for this fact can be found in the large number of previous posts in which I’ve featured them.  This year we’ve got New Year’s rabbits, and previously I’ve had Valentine’s rabbits by Celia Hart, and Easter rabbits as well as other rabbits in fantasy.  You can also check these additional links to see rabbits and hares from

1865 Alphabet of Animals

Betsy Bowen

Raoul Dufy

John Lawrence

Howard Phipps

        Nevertheless, it wasn’t very difficult to find a few more wonderful wood block prints of rabbits to add to the mix.  First, a snowy one from 1999, a previous Year of the Rabbit.  This rabbit is not super detailed, 
but its essence is perfectly captured, and it looks gorgeous against the snowy black.  The little block of red is auspicious, as well.
        Next we have a print of two rabbits in the Japanese style that aims to emulate brush painting.  It uses grey with the black to mimic areas of more watery ink.  This one also has a little red detail, this time as the white rabbit’s eye.
        Depicting two rabbits together, one black and one white to set each other off, is a technique used by our next piece, as well.  This time the black is in front and both rabbits face the viewer.  This appears to have been inked with thinner 
ink on the top/background areas, which allows the wood grain to show through clearly and, also like the piece above, gives us grey as well as black and white.
        Finally, I’ll pin these rabbits back to Lunar New Year with a piece depicting a tiny rabbit figurine along with a New Year decoration.  I don’t have an exact date for this print, but presumably it, too, was made in a Year of the Rabbit.
        Wikipedia informs me that white is a color to be avoided in the year of the rabbit, which is difficult when the rabbits themselves are white, and is a good reason not to get too tangled up in such “rules.”  I trust these rabbits will bring nothing but good luck to everyone.  So how else could I end this post except by wishing everyone a Hoppy Year?

[Pictures: Year of the Rabbit, woodcut by Andrew Valko, 1999 (Image from AndrewValko.com); Rabbits from Bairei Gakan by Kono Bairei, (before 1895) 1913 edition (Image from rawpixel);
The Rabbits, woodcut by Henri Charles Guérard, 1893 (Image from Cleveland Museum of Art);
Rabbit and New Year decoration on a stand, woodblock print by Hada Gesshu, late 19th century (Image from The British Museum).]

No comments: