Pine Tree, Plum Blossoms, and Crane


Pine Tree, Plum Blossoms, and Crane

Paintings / Edo

By Itō Jakuchū (1716-1800)

Edo period, 18th century

Color on paper



A crane seems to stand straight over some inverted eggs with its head peeking out from its hunched body. Below the crane's feet, the trunk of a pine tree stretches diagonally from lower right to upper left. The tree bark resembles the suckers of an octopus tentacle and the pine leaves have seemingly been rendered with the vigorous sweeps of a brush with split hairs. The branches of a white plum blossom also rise sinuously around the crane's legs. Its yellow pistils are depicted as vigorous loops.
Though the artist has predominately used monochrome black ink, there are small splashes of eye-catching color in key places like the plum blossoms, the pine trunk, and the crane's head and eyes.
Ito Jakuchu was active during the mid-Edo period. He was said to be influenced by the Ming-dynasty Chinese paintings at Daiun-in in Kyoto, but Jakuchu's inimitable arrangement lends this work an exotic, original air.

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