​Exquisite Japanese​ Falconry Art​

Twenty years ago, I was in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and saw an exhibit of Japanese art featuring hawks. I tried to get pictures with poor results to send to Steve. The web was in its infancy then so it occurred to me to see what was online now. More than I expected. I tried to find if Steve already mentioned this but didn’t see much. There is this reference and a more general one. I am not sure if the hawk scenes were from me or something Steve found later.*

Searching for hawk under the collections turned up 500 hits, eagle 1700 and falcon 500. There were so many I couldn’t check more than a few. There are some stunning images by Japanese artists.

There were several of North of the Waste White goshawks like the one at top and these two.

Several were of hawking herons and egrets which was a desired prey in several falconry cultures.

There seems to be a lot of mislabeling, too.This cropped image seems to feature eagles, not hawks, as claimed. Correct, Steve?​

Speaking of Japan, this image of lenticular clouds over Fuji is too good to not post.

Mt. Fuji Reflecting in Lake Tanuki, Japan  @taitan21

*see the comment.

As usual, open in a new tab to embiggen.

2 thoughts on “​Exquisite Japanese​ Falconry Art​”

  1. Quite few feature eagles, mostly the Mountain hawk eagle, Spizaetus nipalensis, flown by the Ainu, the aboriginal hawkers of Hokkaido, at furbearing carnivores and called “Kumataka”- Bear hawk . They do not encourage their children to play around the mews.
    What they conspicuously do NOT have is any portraits of “Falcons’ of any species, despite the labels at the MFA. Even modern Japanese falconers went straight to Harrises without stopping!

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  2. Probably. I wrote about them, but it was a long time ago. All the pictures, hundreds of them, were of Goshawks, about 600, beginning with the Tokugawa Shogunate in the 1620’s. You can learn how to fly a hawk looking at the action pictures on the screen — they are that good. And the ornate knots are unbelievable. They are a treasure but nobody pays attention.

    At that time you could look at the images on their original black photographic glass plates. These days things are quite different. They have never understood historically: see C Jameson’s Hawking in Japan.

    Because the TV show was based on “Theory” which is about the relations of power between men and women, which is nonsense, and has nothing to do with falconry. It did get some professor to see and evaluate the beautiful old paintings. They wanted me to give them back the images I got in 1972. No way! I know they have hundreds of them and I would never get permission to see them again. I have detailed CD ROMs of them, many very detailed.

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