Once hung on the walls of Tokyo’s Imperial court, the forgotten works of Japanese artist, Taki Katei, are now proudly on display at Liverpool’s World Museum.
‘Drawing on Nature’, a collection of Katei’s, coincides with the UK-Japan Season of Culture, a joint initiative contributing to Japan hosting both the Rugby World Cup and the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.
In the late 1800s, his work was highly regarded and he received the title of Imperial Household Artist.
Ishibashi Kazunori studied under Katei; in 1907, he brought a selection of his work to Britain, where he came to study.
After the 1920s, Katei’s works became unfashionable and forgotten; his work disregarded in art history.
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Recently, Dr Rosina Buckland completed researched into the works of Katei. This led to a showcase at the World Museum. A large collection of rare preparatory drawings that Katei used for teaching, his commission preparation and an aide-mémoire.
Emma Martin, a Senior Curator at World Museum, told JMU Journalism: “We hope visitors have the same reaction as we did as we unrolled each piece for the first time, and full, flouncy peonies in blushing pinks and strutting cockerels with iridescent feathers suddenly unfurled before our eyes.
“There were gasps of amazement and smiles of delight from members of the team who were unfamiliar with Katei’s work and we knew straight away that these works would make an incredible exhibition.”
His collection has been separated into several themes. Firstly, hidden meanings, then symbolism, moving onto his techniques and finishing with perfection.
It also tells the tale of how the work, mainly created with ink and watercolours, travelled from Tokyo to Liverpool.
The exhibition will be available to the public until April 2020.