Exhibition Outlines

No.40 Flowers and Birds -the spirit of appreciation and the art of painting<Focusing on Jakuchu>- (2006/3/25 - 2006/9/10)

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Flowers and Birds

The Doshoku Sai-e (Colorful Realm of Living Beings), 30 scrolls, is the representative work by Ito Jakuchu(1716-1800), the mid-Edo period painter still popular today. Because of the charm of its beautiful colors, exquisite depiction and unconventional composition, it is one of the most admired pieces among our collection. In order to pass down all of the 30 scrolls of this piece in good condition to the future generations, we have undertaken a six year restoration project from 1999. In this exhibition, we will introduce the wonderful depictive expressions of Jakuchu and his Doshoku Sai-e, based on the results of this restoration, along with an introduction of the development of kachoga (flower and bird paintings) around the era of Jakuchu.

The Edo period when Jakuchu was active, was the era of peace when an affluent culture was created by various expressions of the interests of not only nobles and samurai classes, but also townspeople and common classes. Within this era, interest in natural objects such as animals and plants increased, and a large number of natural history journals were published developing the study. At the same time horticulture prospered in Japan, to what is said to be top level worldwide. Furthermore, books and art works were imported from China and western countries, and the elephant imported in the 18th century surprised the people greatly.

On the other hand, Japanese kachoga that had developed under the influence of old Chinese paintings passed down in temples, showed a new development since Shen Nanpin conveyed his painting method of highly realistic and richly colorful kachoga. Under this situation, the painters active during the 18th century produced unique kachoga adding new expressions to the former expressions and techniques, contriving realistic and colorful expressions.

In this exhibition, we will introduce the skillful expressive depiction by Jakuchu, and the works of the same and nearby eras. We hope our visitors will be able to appreciate the unchanging feelings of those who continuously appreciated nature and its flowers and birds, through the various exhibited works by Jakuchu and other artists of the same era.