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Kachō-e is a subset of ukiyo-e prints (usually depicting landscapes, portraits, and scenes of daily life). Inspired by the principles of Shinto and Buddhist traditions, kachō-e concentrates on studies of birds, flowers and insects, as well as other scenes from nature.

While the conventional Western approach to natural history was based on description and classification (Naturalism, Darwin’s Voyages, etc.), the Japanese perspective was focused with how all things fit together, and related to experience, perception, and aesthetics.

Masters of kachō-e were guided by both expression and emotion; they succeeded in capturing the experience of being overwhelmed by the saturated color of a blossom or charmed by the clever personality of a bird in the wild. Imbued with metaphorical significance beyond their physical beauty, specific pairings of birds, insects, and flowers have formed the basis for a tradition that continues to this day.

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