TAMAZUSA 玉梓(2016)

Messengers a long time ago are said to have carried twigs of the Japanese cherry birch tree. Because they twisted the twigs around love letters, these messages were known as tamazusa - tama meaning ‘treasure’ and azusa being the name of the tree. This work of mine is a homage to an artist I admire and tantamount to a personal message to him, so I have chosen this title. However, since he passed away in 1800, it is safe to assume that he will never see my message.


The barnyard chickens that often appear in Jakuchu Ito’s ‘Doshokusaie’ series are a unique breed that has developed over the years from the first chickens brought to Japan during the Yayoi Period (300 BC - 300 AD). Drawn to its beautiful feathers, sharp eyes and beak, and regal posture that I can only describe as something like a ‘dinosaur of the gamecock,’ I did some reading and discovered that it is included amongst the vertebrate class of reptilia that both fowls and reptiles belong to. But, what is so brassy about it is that, contrary to thought, the bird cannot live without being fed, so when the number of those being bred plummeted during the war, it was declared a Natural Monument and protected. Despite the difficult times, it was some how preserved by bird lovers and looks like it does now. Come to think of it, these chickens may very well be dinosaurs. And, because of the way this unhurried chicken resembled Ito’s work the moment I captured her posturing with my camera, I occurred to me that his composition was very photographic. 












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