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2024-06-17 / 2022-05-30

Past Exhibitions

The Finely Detailed Creatures Found in Japanese Artistic Crafts



The Finely Detailed Creatures Found in Japanese Artistic Crafts

In Japanese art and craftworks since ancient times, various living creatures have been represented. These insects and animals, which were to be found in people’s day-to-day existences, had various meanings overlain upon their forms, ecology, and names, and were incorporated as motifs in designs to give expression to the seasons, the calendar, and auspicious omens.

Though in craftwork these creatures were rendered for decorative purposes, with the incorporation of realistic expression from the mid-Edo period on, there appeared among them some minutely detailed specimens. Works reproduced the textures of living creatures and gave expression to a vigor and tension suggestive even of imminent lifelike movement. These insects and fish as well as various sorts of animals, though ostensibly mere design elements, sang the glories of life itself, it would seem.

The present exhibition introduces various sword fittings and inro, vases and incense burners, from the Late Edo and Meiji periods to be found in the Museum’s collection. We invite you to peruse these living creature forms, which were rendered variously using a multitude of materials and techniques.

Information on the main pieces