Since ancient times, birds and flowers have been loved by man as the objects of beauty most familiar to him and as targets of his longing and adoration. They have given color to life in various ways. Particularly in Japan, which abounds with nature's gifts, beautiful birds and flowers in their rich seasonal variety have captured people's hearts and have been skillfully incorporated into the art and culture of each era.
In the middle of the Edo period, the innovative painter Ito Jakuchu completed a major project of thirty hanging scrolls entitled Doshoku Sai-e in which he depicted birds and flowers, and even fish and shells. This masterpiece, painted in vivid colors with Jakuchu’s unique artistic sense, 1eaves a powerful impression on the viewer. Also active at about the same time were the artists of the Maruyama Shijo Schoo1, who valued sketching from life and portrayed birds and flowers in an easily accessible, naturalistic style. In the modern age too, many Japanese artists have depicted birds and flowers in strongly individualistic works, searching for new expressions that exude a modern sensibility while continuing the tradition of bird-and-flower painting.
The examples of bird-and-flower motifs in modern craft work are also worthy of attention. In these pieces, we can see beautiful designs along with sophisticated, highly developed techniques.
It is our sincere hope that the viewer will feel anew the charming allure of birds and flowers through the works in the present exhibition.