[Image via Barnes & Noble]
It's been a hundred years since Washington, D.C. received Japan's truly spectacular gift: 3,000 cherry trees. (Hard to imagine D.C. without them, isn't it?) To celebrate this milestone, a highly-prized 30-scroll set of vibrant flora and fauna paintings by 18th-century artist Itō Jakuchū will be on view at the National Gallery of Art from March 30 through April 29, during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The exhibition, Colorful Realm, marks the first time this set has been seen in its entirety outside of Japan.
Guest curator Yukio Lippit, professor of Japanese art, Harvard University, describes the lush, stylized set as one of the great stand-outs in the history of Japanese art. If you're unable to visit the NGA, a new 240-page, well-illustrated catalogue with specific entries (in English) on each of the 30 scrolls -- along with the latest conservation findings -- will be available, too.
[Itō Jakuchū, Old Pine Tree and Peacock (J. Rōshō kujaku zu), c. 1759–1761 (Hōreki 9–11), ink and color on silk, with gold, from Colorful Realm of Living Beings (J. Dōshoku sai-e), set of 30 vertical hanging scrolls, c. 1757–1766, Sannomaru Shōzōkan (The Museum of the Imperial Collections), The Imperial Household Agency.]
Of course, when I saw this peacock, I couldn't help thinking of the V & A's Christopher Breward and his discussion of dandies.