240 pages, 80 colour illustrations
Japanese indigenous plants have fascinated botanists and horticulturalists for the past two centuries, and their discoveries still have a strong influence on the plants of today. Botanists such as Kaempfer, Thunberg, von Siebold, and Maximowicz visited Japan between the 17th and 19th centuries, and communicated and corresponded with many Japanese botanists; identifying, naming and classifying many native plants and sending specimens around the world. Many beautiful Japanese plants (e.g. Hydrangea, Lily, Hosta, Camellia) were introduced into European countries, influencing horticulture and the breeding of new varieties. And as a result, this interest in Japanese flora led to a stimulation of activity amongst botanical painters in Japan in depicting the native flora.
Flora Japonica is a beautiful celebration of modern Japanese botanical art, featuring 80 specially commissioned botanical paintings of Japanese wild plants, contributed by 34 of the country's best contemporary artists. Each paintings is accompanied by text about the plant, including its natural history as well as botanical description and details of the specimen origin. Biographies of all 30 artists are included.
An introductory chapter by Professor Hideaki Ohba (University of Tokyo) explores the history of Japanese botanical illustration, and in particular the work of the botanist and illustrator Tomitaro Makino (1862–1967).
Flora Japonica accompanies the exhibition of the same name, opening in September 2016 at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The exhibition will then go to the new gallery in the Natural History Museum of Tokyo University in 2017.
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Masumi Yamanaka is an award winning botanical artist currently based at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and co-author of Treasured Trees (Kew Publishing, 2015).
Hideaki Ohba is a professor in the department of Botany at the University Museum, University of Tokyo, and author of Endangered Plants of Japan: A Florelegium (Aboc-sha & Co, 2004).
Martyn Rix is a renowned horticulturalist, and author of many books including The Golden Age of Botanical Art (Andre Deutsch) and co-author of Treasured Trees (Kew Publishing, 2015), and editor of Curtis's Botanical Magazine, published by Kew.