Among Flora & Fauna
This exhibition held in the New York gallery from September 18 until October 11, 1997 and corresponding to Kaikodo Journal V, was organized around the general theme of flowers, birds, and animals in Chinese art and Japanese painting. The works in the exhibition are intriguing to specialists and scholars in Chinese and Japanese art as well as to cultural historians because of the compelling iconographic and symbolic content they embrace. Yet their sheer beauty and sometimes even humor make the works easily accessible to the public in general without any knowledge whatsoever about the history of these objects and paintings nor of the cultures that produced them. The exhibition comprised a stunning range of subjects and styles within the theme, ranging from the highly realistic and naturalistic to works that can be described as impressionistic and others seemingly expressionistic in their calligraphic fury.
The bird and flower paintings were introduced ay an anonymous work of the 12th-13th century depicting a thrush on a flowering magnolia branch. A squirrel balancing on a branch of pine by the 14th century painter Chen Zhensu is a type particularly treasured in Japan while the Qing master Zhu Da’s “Two Chicks” is easily understood and appreciated everywhere. A bird-shaped bronze ferrule of great sculptural beauty, archaic jade sword guards still clinging to fragments of their iron blades, an extremely rare bronze ram and kid of the Han period, a powerful seated earthenware camel with rider, a large Liao period painted wooden panel, a breathtakingly beautiful foliate Jun ware dish of the Northern Song period, a brilliant turquoise-colored fahua-style gourd-shaped porcelain bottle, and a Korean “Sun and Moon” inkstone were among the numerous highlights of this exhibition.