I’ve mentioned the paintings of Ito Jakuchu here before. Yesterday I was lucky enough to see a major exhibition of his works at the Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art. The exhibition was called “Another World”.

It was incredible. It was one of those exhibitions where you’ve seen their work in a book or something before and thought it was nice or ok. But then you get a chance to see it up close and in real life and you see a whole new side to it. For me, it was seeing the detail in his paintings. The way he depicted individual feathers or added texture to leaves was really interesting.

The paintings I was most interested in and had been hoping to see, where those of Cockatoos.

This ink painting is from 1771!!! And don’t try telling me that’s not a cockatoo, because it is!
Here’s another one, not sure what year it is from but Jakuchu died in 1800 so it had to be before that.
And finally this round one from 1782
I’m dying to know where he (and others around the same era) got these images from. Were these birds brought to Japan by dutch traders? Are these images copied from paintings done by others? Did he really see a cockatoo or was he using his imagination? These are things I really want to look into.