Special Presentation “Botany and Botanical Art in the University of Tokyo – Makino Tomitarō and Yamada Toshio vol.3”


In this third instalment, the exhibition showcases 44 colour pictures from the botanical sketches drawn by botanical artist Yamada Toshio, resulting from his collaboration with botanist Makino Tomitarō. This newly discovered collection from the University Museum, the University of Tokyo testifies to the history of botanical art that supported botanical research in the university. This special presentation is planned to coincide with the special exhibition “Orchids Blossom – Botanical Art Collections from the University of Tokyo” (June 19 – September 26, 2021).

Organizer: The University Museum, the University of Tokyo (UMUT)

【Botanical sketches by Yamada Toshio】
In 2017, botanical sketches were newly found in the backyard of the University Museum, the University of Tokyo (UMUT). All the illustrations were drawn by Yamada Toshio (1882−1941), a botanical artist active from late Meiji to early Shōwa eras. He is known as one of the illustrators of An Illustrated Flora of Nippon (1940), a monumental botanical publication written by Makino Tomitarō (1862−1957), a famous botanist in Japan. 534 illustrations (367 colour pictures and 167 line drawings) drawn between 1909 and 1937 were found. Many of them bear on the reverse side information on when the illustrations were made, and how the specimens were collected. It is noteworthy that Yamada collected materials by accompanying Makino on the field, or by receiving items collected by Makino himself in the Koishikawa Botanical Gardens. Thus, these illustrations are thought to have been made under the guidance of Makino.
Many drawings proved to be original illustrations of Makino’s publications, such as An Illustrated Flora of Nippon, An Illustrated Analytical Key to the Japanese Common Plants (1950) or Illustrations of Alpine Plants in Japan (1953). These illustrations are not only excellent and truthful depictions of plants, but they are also worthy in clarifying the process behind Makino’s publications.

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