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Talking in Flowers: Japanese Botanical Art

Talking in Flowers: Japanese Botanical Art

By John V. Brindle and James J. White. 1982. 96 pp.; 25 color, 68 b&w figs.; 8 1/2 x 10 1/2"; 11 oz. Pictorial paper cover. ISBN 0-91396-40-1. Out-of-print.

Ink and watercolor by Kokei Yoshikawa from [Kokei's drawings from life-plants, animals and fish of the four seasons, 1822].


This catalogue was produced as a companion to a 1982 exhibition of mainly 19th- and 20th-century Japanese botanical art. Drawn primarily from the Institute’s collection, the works include books, handscrolls, sketchbook albums, woodblock prints and paintings. Talking in Flowers serves as a fine introduction to the history of Japanese botanical art. It contains relatively unknown artists and illustrators who are generally only listed in specialized bibliographies. The catalogue is extensively illustrated with color and black-and-white reproductions and features an essay by John V. Brindle, curator of art at the Institute from 1961 to 1981. Brindle’s enthusiasm for Japanese botanical art is evident is his lush descriptions of the artworks: “The breath of life and affection blows through them. Flowering branches seem to sway and grow on the pages that hold them. Insects, closely watched by a sympathetic eye not distanced by a microscope, seem more like friends than laboratory specimens.”

Ink and watercolor by Kokei Yoshikawa from [Kokei's drawings from life-plants, animals and fish of the four seasons, 1822].

Top: Color woodcut from Hana Kurabe [Comparison of Flowers] by Shibata Zeshin (2 vols., Tokyo, 1875­1890).

Bottom: Color woodcut from Shiki No Hana [Flowers of the Four Seasons] by Sakai Hoitsu, Suzuki Sonoichi and Nakano Sonoaki (10 vols., Kyoto, 1908).


Errata

Page 16, Figure VII, credit in caption should read: Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University; Purchase, Francis H. Burr Memorial Fund.

Page 21, line 11, acknowledgement should read: Ikenobo Society of Pittsburgh: Mrs. Richard C. Walter, President

Page 21, lines 21 and 22, photograph credit should read: Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University; Purchase, Francis H. Burr Memorial Fund; John Rosenfield, Curator of Oriental Art. Figure VII

Page 23, entry 1, omit "Color"

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