Our latest product focus is a timeless pocket square that belongs to the Ukiyo-e genre, which emerged in Japan in the 17th through 19th centuries. The Mystical Bird Pocket Square features a stunning print by Katsushika Hokusai, depicting a mystical Buddhist bird.
Katsushika Hokusai (1760- 1849), known as Hokusai, was a Japanese artist widely known for The Great Wave off Kanagawa. He is responsible for the evolution of Ukiyo-e from arts-focused subjects to a much broader genre, including landscapes, plants and animals.
Did You Know? To this day, Hokusai is considered one of the greatest masters in art history, producing over 30,000 works of art throughout his career.
Explore Further: Mystical Bird Pocket Square
Following the establishment of the Edo government in Tokyo, the merchant classes soon began to prosper due to rapid economic growth. With the extra income, they began to patronise the arts, theatres and geishas. The term "ukiyo" literally means "floating world" and became synonymous with this new lavish lifestyle.
Printed works that depicted this lifestyle were soon popular with the same people who could now afford such artworks. Popular subject matters included women (as shown in Mystical Bird), actors, sumo wrestlers, samurais, history and folklore, and landscapes.
The artist designed the print, a carver cut the woodblocks, a printer inked and pressed the blocks, and all this was often financed by a publisher who promoted and distributed the products.
ABOUT THE MYSTICAL BIRD PAINTING
This print depicts a mystical Buddhist bird (called Karyōbinga in Japanese) which is characterised by a bird's torso and a female human head. She cam be seen playing the flute, and the legend behind the artwork says that one can never tire of listening to the creature's heavenly music.
The work is from the artist's very productive Iitsu period (ca. 1820–33), and has a rich neutral tone in colour with soft green and blues seen to accentuate the wing shading. The female torso uses a bright orange to capture the traditional Japanese clothing of that time.
The original print currently resides at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
THE ARTIST: UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI
Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861) is one of the last great masters of the ukiyo-e genre, and was mostly known for portrayals of famous samurai and legendary heroes. In his art, he was able to represent a sense of action in the samurais faces and behaviour, often depicted in combat. Kuniyoshi also made prints of more traditional subjects such as landscapes, or bijin-ga - a term to describe pictures of beautiful women in Japanese art.
Kuniyoshi's work is held in the permanent collections of many museums worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Self portrait, 1839
HOW TO WEAR: MYSTICAL BIRD POCKET SQUARE
This pocket square is one of our best-sellers for a reason; it’s versatile, beautifully made and is vibrant in tone. The Mystical Bird Pocket Square has rich teal, green and orange colour shadings, alongside a prominent border to add to the appeal. The cream and ecru neutral background within the print make this pocket square extremely versatile with most outfits and tailored jackets.
Below we explore three ways to wear this timeless pocket square.
Pair with a Brown Tie
The vibrant orange/red hues within the painting create a rich and luxurious tone to the pocket square, so pairing it with a complementary colour tie such as brown will pull your outfit together with ease.
We suggest using our wool and cashmere blend Chestnut Brown Tie to make the perfect ensemble.
Match with a Navy Tailored Jacket
A navy tailored jacket is the most common and sophisticated way to style any outfit for all events, either work or pleasure. Most of our pocket squares suit our navy made to order tailored jacket as this classic menswear item is extremely versatile and durable over time.
Style with a Cashmere Jumper
The Mystical Bird painting has a deep cream backdrop behind the female figure, creating a sizeable negative space to complement your outfit. We suggest pairing this with a grey-based cashmere jumper to add texture to your ensemble and create a more laid back, informal look.
Using knitwear under your tailoring is a modern yet contemporary way to add some creative flair to your outfit.
If you have already purchased this pocket square, why not discover what makes our tailored jackets so special, from the premium fabrics and master tailoring used, to the option of customising with our fine art silk linings.