Paul Binnie, Scottish, b. 1967
signed at the lower right in kanji, Bin-ni, followed by artist's gold seal Binnie, the print title on the lower left margin, Namida, numbered in pencil on bottom margin at left, 1/50, embossed Binnie at center of the bottom margin, and numbered and signed in pencil at right, Paul Binnie, a special limited red-ground edition completed in 2009
oban tate-e 17 3/4 by 12 1/4 in., 45 by 31 cm
As Binnie continues to produce new designs for various ongoing series, including the figural series, Edo Ink (Edo zumi) and Collection of Eastern Brocade Beauties (Azuma nishiki bijin awase), he has also been producing red (or pink) ground variant impressions of each female nude design in smaller editions. The red ground beauties tend to sell quickly and can be challenging to locate.
This print is a variation of 'Morning Tears' (Asa ni Namida) from the Collection of Eastern Brocade Beauties series. The title of the original design, 'Morning Tears', brings to mind the famous 1930 print 'Morning Hair,' by Torii Kotondo, which was reportedly confiscated by the Japanese government who found the subject (the proverbial 'morning after') too suggestive. Binnie's 'morning after' is suggestive in a far different way, here a beauty weeps while hiding her face. In contrast to the lavish icy-blue mica background on the original 'Morning Tears,' the deep red ground on this edition, titled simply 'Tears', evokes a slightly different mood. Both versions leave the crux of the story to our interpretation.
This small edition of only 50 impressions is available exclusively from Scholten Japanese Art.
Paul Binnie, Scottish, b. 1967
A Collection of Eastern Brocade Beauties: Morning Tears
(Azuma nishiki bijin awase: Asa ni Namida)
each impression with varying 'tears' in the mica background, signed at the lower right in kanji, Bin-ni, followed by artist's red seal Binnie, the series title on the upper left margin, Azuma nishiki bijin awase, the print title on the lower left margin, Asa ni Namida, embossed Binnie at the center of the bottom margin, and numbered and signed in pencil, 17/100, Paul Binnie, April 2009
dai oban tate-e 17 3/4 by 12 1/4 in., 45 by 31 cm
In this latest addition to the Collection of Eastern Brocade Beauties series Binnie presents an unusual composition. While the subject of a bare-breasted beauty set against a mica ground is classic ukyio-e (and shin hanga), the portrayal of real emotion is a startling departure from the idealized Japanese woman typically depicted by most shin hanga artists. The title alone, 'Morning Tears,' brings to mind Torii Kotondo's notorious 1930 print, 'Morning Hair' (Asa ne Gami; lit. 'hair after waking late')- a hauntingly beautiful bust portrait of a woman with slightly tussled hair and a far away gaze. The suggestive title and her ambiguous expression left far too much room for interpretation to the Japanese authorities, who reportedly confiscated the original woodblocks and unsold impressions. While the title of this Binnie print may (consciously or not) be a subtle reference to 'Morning Hair', the subject is quite different. With Morning Tears,' Binnie challenges the viewer. He presents us with a classic beauty (although her face is hidden), but this is no empty vessel, there are emotions to contend with. The mica background (a lavish embellishment usually reserved for the most idealized beauties) is intentionally imperfect; each print has a splatter of hand-applied nikawa (glue sizing) 'tears' breaking the pristine glimmer. While her emotional state is unambiguous....the actual cause of her despair is left to our interpretation.
This impression (17/100) sold- three other impressions are available (31/100, 32/100 and 49/100).
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm preferably for no more than two individuals at a time.
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site last updated
October 14, 2021
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
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