This exhibition reconstructs how Japanese artists gazed at birds, by showing drawings and the corresponding bird specimens side by side.
Kawabe Kakyo’s Sketches of Birds series is a handbook for Japanese drawing called funpon, serving so to speak as a reference specimen drawn on paper. In this exhibition, we present an entire roll of the picture rather than focusing on any specific parts. A note on the volume states, “showing this roll to persona non grata is forbidden.” Thus, the roll was likely important for the artist and their school. The birds drawn here are, unexpectedly, rather common species. Neither the gorgeous Peacock nor the Hawk, which is necessary for the Japanese arts. Common birds that can be seen daily, are depicted realistically and sometimes fancy foreign birds have inserted. Our aim is to depict the artist’s unaltered, ordinary days that are entirely devoted to art, in contrast to our time during the pandemic.
This roll is 16 m long and will be shown divided into three parts. We hope you have a pleasant experience through this exhibition series.
[Organizer] The University Museum, the University of Tokyo (UMUT)