Plakat wystawy Kachō-ga. Flowers and Birds in Japanese and Western Art


Kachō-ga. Flowers and Birds in Japanese and Western Art

20.09.2016 g. 18:00
21.09.2016 - 22.01.2017

Anna Król, Adam Organisty
Exhibition design:  
Anna Król
Graphic design and layout of printed matter:  
Rafał Sosin

About exhibition

New end date: 22.01.2017.

Honorary Patron of the exhibition: the Embassy of Japan in Poland

Nature in the cultures of the East and the West, its dissimilar interpretations and modes of depiction, are the subject matter of the exhibition prepared by the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology, ‘Kachō-ga. Pictures of Flowers and Birds in Japanese and Western Art’.

Its starting point is the precious assembly of ukiyo-e woodblock prints showing ‘pictures of flowers and birds’ from the collection of Feliks ‘Manggha’ Jasieński, juxtaposed with European and Polish painting and artistic crafts, from the Middle Ages to modern times.

The main part of the exhibit encompasses paintings and artistic craft products executed by Japanese artists and Europeans inspired by Japanese art. Herbariums and chasubles dating back to the 17th century, pastels by Stanisław Wyspiański and Wojciech Weiss, glass wares by Émile Gallé,  as well as prints by Hiroshige, Wenceslas Hollar and Utamaro are only some of the works to be shown.

A valuable contribution to the exhibition, for the first time made available to the public, is the collection of the teacher at Breslau’s art academy, Joseph Langer (1865–1918), from the little known Museum of Household Equipment in Ziębice. It includes his studies of plants and birds as well as works on this theme by his students, in addition to his collection of Japanese art.

The thematic exhibition also focuses on the system of education – the learning of how to reproduce botanical and ornithological motifs, based both on early modern models of European painting and on exemplars drawn from Japanese woodblock-printed picture books.

The exhibition is a pretext for taking another close look at the reality of nature, as a point of departure for not only artistic, but also philosophical or theological reflection.

This presentation is part of the Museum’s series of projects focusing on the interaction of cultures and aesthetics, the problems of interculturality and transculturality.

A profusely illustrated catalogue is published in conjunction with the exhibition, which covers its subject matter so extensively for the first time.

The exhibition will include over 250 works from private, ecclesiastical and public collections:

Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków
Library of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) in Gdańsk
Library of the Polish Academy of Learning (PAU) in Kraków
Institute of Botany, Jagiellonian University in Kraków
Monastery of Franciscan Friars in Kraków
Abbey of Benedictine Sisters in Staniątki
Convent of Poor Clares in Kraków
Saint Mary’s Church in Kraków
Mazovian Museum in Płock
National Museum in Gdańsk
National Museum in Kraków
National Museum in Poznań
National Museum in Szczecin
National Museum in Warsaw
National Museum in Wrocław
Museum of Household Equipment in Ziębice
Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology in Kraków
Museum of the Kujawy and Dobrzyń Region in Włocławek


You have heard how wonderfully silk is made – in a way such as God alone could plan – how it all comes from an egg resembling a tiny pepper-corn. Not having seen it myself, I only know of it by hearsay, so if the facts are inaccurate the fault will not be mine. When, in the warm weather, the mulberry trees come into leaf, the little egg which was lifeless before its food was ready, begins to live. The caterpillar nourishes itself upon the mulberry leaves until, when it has grown large, people place near it small twigs upon which, of its own accord, it spins silk from its tiny mouth until it has made a narrow little cocoon in which it buries itself. Then this large and ugly worm leaves the cocoon as a lovely little white butterfly. If we had not seen this but had only heard of it as an old legend, who could believe it? Could we persuade ourselves that insects so utterly without the use of reason as a silkworm or a bee would work with such industry and skill in our service that the poor little silkworm loses its life over the task? This would suffice for a short meditation, sisters, without my adding more, for you may learn from it the wonders and the wisdom of God. How if we knew the properties of all things? It is most profitable to ponder over the grandeurs of creation and to exult in being the brides of such a wise and mighty King.

Saint Teresa of Ávila, The Interior Castle

Prepared by Anna Król

See selected works

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