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Flora Japonica at London’s Kew Gardens

Submitted by on January 27, 2017 – 8:44 amNo Comment
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Acer palmatum by Kyoko OharaA Flora Japonica exhibition continues through March 5, 2017, in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at Kew Gardens (also known as the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew), Richmond, Surrey, England.

It celebrates the richness of Japanese native flora and its influence on horticulture in the west. About a hundred Japanese wild plants are portrayed by 36 contemporary Japanese botanical artists.

The exhibition also features historic drawings and paintings by some of Japan’s most revered botanists and artists such as Dr Tomitaro Makino (1863-1957), Sessai Hattori and Chikusai Kato (Edo period artists 1603-1868), which have never been seen before in Europe.

Works from Kew’s Illustration and Economic Botany collections on display include an early example of Japanese botanical illustration, Honzo Zufu by Kanen Iwasaki (1786–1842), an illustrated encyclopaedia of medicinal plants dating from 1828, and Japanese wood panels painted by Chikusai Kato (1878), which are made from the wood and framed with the bark of the trees that they depict. These herbarium xylarium works complement paintings by Dr Tomitaro Makino who is best known for his skill in representing plants throughout the seasons in one single image.

Botanical art is expanding in 21st century Japan, with both professional and many amateur artists producing excellent botanical illustrations. They have organized themselves into regional circles and established a nationwide association.

The botanical paintings on display in this exhibition show native Japanese plants in perfect detail. Most of the examples have been collected from wild sources and have been carefully recorded and painted by the most accomplished botanical artists working in Japan today.

Check out this video:

(Photo of Acer palmatum by Kyoko Ohara and video courtesy of Kew Gardens)

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