White Plum Blossoms and Moon

Itō Jakuchū Japanese

Not on view

A large full moon is sole witness to a miraculous burst of white blossoms emerging out of a gnarled, old plum tree in the stillness of night. Itō Jakuchū, who painted this extraordinary, dreamlike image, was counted as one of the Three Eccentrics of the Edo period, together with Soga Shōhaku (1730– 1781) and Nagasawa Rosetsu (1754–1799). In his exuberant depictions of plant life, he combined seemingly incompatible elements, such as realism with brilliant color and decorative abstraction.

Born the eldest son of a wholesale grocer in Kyoto, Jakuchū inherited the family business and ran it for more than fifteen years. It was not until he reached his late thirties that he began to paint full-time. This painting, inscribed with the year 1755, is one of the earliest of his dated works.

White Plum Blossoms and Moon, Itō Jakuchū (Japanese, 1716–1800), Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk, Japan

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