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Album of Birds and Flowers (Kacho-ga)

Kubota Tosui

Asian Art

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Japan exported large quantities of all types of objects, at a range of prices, to the West. Fashionable consumers purchased and displayed these objects in their homes. An item such as this fine album would have been prized not only for its exotic beauty but also for its sensitivity to the natural world, evident in the closely observed pictures of birds, insects, and plants.
MEDIUM Album leaf, ink painting on silk
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES late 19th-early 20th century
    PERIOD Meiji Period
    DIMENSIONS 9 1/4 x 8 3/4in. (23.5 x 22.2cm) each image
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Thomas Colville
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Twelve rectangular leaves mounted in an album represent through images of nature the twelve months of the year. For images, see imagesjapanpaintings osui, as follows: 1. Three cranes - one flying; two standing - among bamboo. 2. Freshly blooming plum trees with three swimming tortoises. 3. Rose mallow with hovering butterfly. 4. Tree peony with butterfly. 5. Crawfish and carp (koi) swimming among lotus petals. 6. Praying mantis standing atop pomegranate plant and leechees. 7. Wading duck with fish and flowering river plants. 8. Crawfish and a school of carp (koi) with submerged branch. 9. Quail and bellflowers. 10. Sparrows and grasses.
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