(grade 2 “Kyōiku” kanji, shinjitai kanji, kyūjitai form 繪)
/we/ → /e/
From Middle Chinese 繪 (yuaih, reconstructed by some linguists as /ɦuɑiH/ invalid IPA characters (H)).
The goon reading, so likely the initial borrowing. (Can this(+) etymology be sourced?)
絵 (hiragana え, rōmaji e, historical hiragana ゑ)
- picture, painting
- drawing, sketch
The kanji 絵 and 画 (also pronounced e, but can also be pronounced as ga), both having the same meanings and on-readings, can be confusing. While 絵 is used to mean pictures in the "drawn" sense (for example, 挿絵 (sashie), "illustration"), it can also refer to art in front of the speaker, such as 浮世絵 (ukiyo-e, “ukiyo-e”) or 蒔絵 (makie, “sprinkled lacquer”). 画 refers to art by extension, for example, 日本画 (nihonga, “Japanese painting”). Sometimes, both kanji can be interchanged, an example being 影絵, 影画 (kage-e, “shadow play”)