It’s All About Birds
Yes, you guessed it; he is at it again… Those who know our senior curator know that he has three passions in his life – firstly, his beloved wife (of course); secondly, the collections of the Abbey Museum and finally… BIRDS. Yes that’s right BIRDS.
In this case we are talking about the two-legged (feathered) variety.
Despite the fact that most holiday destinations are decided on the potential of seeing some rare bird species and that her husband spends frequent Sundays for hours at a time to gaze through his telescope at godwits, dotterels, snipe and stilts, his long suffering but loving wife is happy that he engages in a harmless pastime that brings him so much pleasure.
Inspired by Chidori
However, she does draw the line when he brings this pastime home and spends many hours mooning over two little birds embossed on the side of a 17th Japanese geisha lacquer comb from the Abbey Museum collection.
She can hear him in his downstairs office muttering about the shape of the beak, the length of the shapely legs and the curve of the feathers over the rounded rump while madly searching websites on Japanese wading birds!!!!
But alas these gorgeous little birds are not true representations of any single Japanese bird but a compilation of several different diagnostic features. Called chidori they are found in Japanese art on many items in the Abbey Museum including hair combs, tsuba (sword guard) and bronze mirrors.
I suppose one cannot really get upset over two little birds. Even his wife agrees they are exquisitely executed and are a fine example of the skill of medieval Japanese artisans that can only be admired.