#6 Exotique eroticPortfolio

 For the love
of beauty

Ito Jakuchu (1716-1800)

Ito Jakuchu was one of the most prominent painters during Japan’s mid-Edo period. He is famous for his hanging scrolls featuring birds, flowers and plants. He trained as a painter by mere observation; his experimental style was influenced by examining Chinese paintings, textiles and nature. He also held strong ties to Zen Buddhist ideals. He donated Colorful Realm of Living Beings, a 30-scroll set of bird and flower paintings to the Zen monastery Shokokuji. This monumental work is considered one of Japan’s most renowned cultural treasures.

Ito Jakuchu’s enthralling paintings depict flora and fauna in calm, meditative sceneries awash with brilliant colours and intricate details. A sacred testament to nature’s timeless beauty_______.

Ito Jakuchu (1716-1800)

Ito Jakuchu was one of the most prominent painters during Japan’s mid-Edo period. He is famous for his hanging scrolls featuring birds, flowers and plants. He trained as a painter by mere observation; his experimental style was influenced by examining Chinese paintings, textiles and nature. He also held strong ties to Zen Buddhist ideals. He donated Colorful Realm of Living Beings, a 30-scroll set of bird and flower paintings to the Zen monastery Shokokuji. This monumental work is considered one of Japan’s most renowned cultural treasures.

‘FLOWERS, BIRDS, GRASSES, AND INSECTS EACH HAVE THEIR OWN INNATE SPIRIT. ONLY AFTER ONE HAS ACTUALLY DETERMINED THE TRUE NATURE OF THIS SPIRIT THROUGH OBSERVATION SHOULD PAINTING BEGIN_______.’
- ITO JAKUCHU

Flowers

Cherry blossom, Peony

Text
Angel Trinidad

Ito Jakuchu was one of the most prominent painters during Japan’s mid-Edo period. He is famous for his beautiful hanging scrolls featuring birds, flowers and plants, painted in a combination of Chinese and traditional Japanese methods and styles. Born in Kyoto on March 2, 1716, Ito Jakuchu was the eldest son of a wealthy food merchant. He retired from the family business in 1755 to pursue the study of Zen Buddhism and to practise painting. He trained as a painter by mere observation; his innovative and experimental style was influenced by examining Chinese paintings at Zen temples, the patterns and designs of Kyoto textiles, natural history collections and direct observation of nature. The artist was well-known in the Kyoto art community, and received many commissions for screen paintings. He also held strong ties to Zen Buddhist ideals – which are often reflected on his work – and was commissioned to paint panels for many Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines across Japan. He personally donated Colorful Realm of Living Beings (J. Doshoku sai-e; c. 1757–1766), a 30-scroll set of bird and flower paintings to the Zen monastery Shokokuji in Kyoto. This monumental work is considered one of Japan’s most renowned cultural treasures..

Jakuchu painted by keen observation of nature. This perhaps is the testament of the timelessness of his work: it is clear that what he simply saw, observed, and painted as beauty then, still qualifies as beauty now. The details, the textures, the soft inviting colours… Ito Jakuchu captured the eternal beauty of flowers.

Although he painted traditional Japanese subjects, his method and style were considered experimental and innovative for his time. Exhibiting a fascinating degree of experimentation with perspective, his paintings used very modern stylistic elements. This dynamic character can be seen on his most famous work: Colorful Realm of Living Beings. A monumental work consisting of a 30-scroll set of paintings, Colorful Realm was created over a span of ten years (c. 1757–1766). The series showcases a plethora of subjects from the natural world – birds, fish, insects, reptiles, flowers, and plants, all rendered in meticulous detail.

The earliest of the 30 scrolls, Peonies and Butterflies, features a butterfly softly landing on and kissing a lush peony, a painting awash with almost-modern hues of beige, moss green, rust orange and soft pink.

Yukio Lippit, a Harvard professor of Japanese art, interprets the artwork as a piece representing sexuality and prosperity. According to Lippit, “the peony was likened to feminine beauty and prosperity,” and thus “enjoyed great popularity as an auspicious painting subject.” Moreover, the butterfly was also an “auspicious symbol.”

The paintings of Ito Jakuchu were created over 200 years ago, but their exuberance and dynamism resonates strongly with audiences today. Profoundly inspired by Zen Buddhism and nature, he captured the very essence that makes us – still – celebrate the exquisite beauty and elemental wonders of plants and flowers_______.

Flowers

Cherry blossom, Peony

Although he painted traditional Japanese subjects, his method and style were considered experimental and innovative for his time. Exhibiting a fascinating degree of experimentation with perspective, his paintings used very modern stylistic elements. This dynamic character can be seen on his most famous work: Colorful Realm of Living Beings. A monumental work consisting of a 30-scroll set of paintings, Colorful Realm was created over a span of ten years (c. 1757–1766). The series showcases a plethora of subjects from the natural world – birds, fish, insects, reptiles, flowers, and plants, all rendered in meticulous detail.

The earliest of the 30 scrolls, Peonies and Butterflies, features a butterfly softly landing on and kissing a lush peony, a painting awash with almost-modern hues of beige, moss green, rust orange and soft pink.

Yukio Lippit, a Harvard professor of Japanese art, interprets the artwork as a piece representing sexuality and prosperity. According to Lippit, “the peony was likened to feminine beauty and prosperity,” and thus “enjoyed great popularity as an auspicious painting subject.” Moreover, the butterfly was also an “auspicious symbol.”

The paintings of Ito Jakuchu were created over 200 years ago, but their exuberance and dynamism resonates strongly with audiences today. Profoundly inspired by Zen Buddhism and nature, he captured the very essence that makes us – still – celebrate the exquisite beauty and elemental wonders of plants and flowers_______.

Text
Angel Trinidad