Ink painting of a bird sitting on a branch, cleaning its right wing.

Kenkō Shōkei, Japanese, active before 1478–c. 1523 Wagtails (detail), early 1500s From a pair of hanging scrolls; ink on paper 15 1/16 × 22 3/4 in. Mary Griggs Burke Collection, Gift of the Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation 2015.79.3.1–2

Nature in Monochrome: Birds and Flowers in Japanese Ink Painting

February 9, 2019 - October 27, 2019
G221, 222, 223
Free Exhibition

Birds and flowers are popular motifs in all types of Japanese art, but it was in the 1300s that Japanese painters began painting pictures of these subjects in ink alone. Painters took up the brush to create small vignettes of nature in shades of black on paper or silk, inspired by Chinese paintings then being imported to Japan. The expressive potential of ink has meant that the popularity of monochrome bird-and-flower paintings has never waned. This exhibition highlights several dozen monochrome bird-and-flower paintings in a variety of formats, from folding fans to folding screens, from the 1400s to 1700s.