Rhiannon Paget

For Rhiannon Paget's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

How a  master circled the system

Jun 21, 2014

How a master circled the system

Favorites of today’s museum-going public, the lushly colorful, sensuous and grotesque paintings of beautiful women by Tsuchida Bakusen (1887-1936) have long been written into the canon of nihonga (Japanese-style painting). It is easy to forget, however, just how transgressive Bakusen’s images were at the ...

Edo-Tokyo Museum maps out the history of Japan's capital

Apr 9, 2014

Edo-Tokyo Museum maps out the history of Japan's capital

The transformation of Edo from a mosquito-infested fishing village to seat of power and cultural center has endlessly fascinated lovers of history. After the imperial capital Kyoto fell to military rule in 1185, ensuing battles for power saw the capital move to Kamakura, then ...

Hasekura Tsunenaga's portrait has a tale to tell

Mar 12, 2014

Hasekura Tsunenaga's portrait has a tale to tell

History is littered with grand projects and dashed expectations that are no less intriguing than its moments of triumph and heroism. A large portrait in oils of a splendidly attired, mid-ranking samurai posing regally in a Roman palace in the early 1600s bears witness ...

Once admired from afar, now enjoyed up close

Jan 29, 2014

Once admired from afar, now enjoyed up close

Billed as an exhibition of masterpieces from the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA), "Admired from Afar" is the latest in a number of exhibitions of Japanese art from American collections.

Exploring Japan's ancient capital inside and out

Oct 16, 2013

Exploring Japan's ancient capital inside and out

Beneath Kyoto, the destination par excellence of tourists, aesthetes, and historians, are the scars and ashes of a much older capital of Japan. Founded in 794 as the seat of imperial authority, after a devastating civil war from 1467 to 1477, the city was ...

The different brush strokes of Tani Buncho

Jul 17, 2013

The different brush strokes of Tani Buncho

The latest exhibition at the Suntory Museum of Art commemorates the 250th anniversary of the birth of Tani Buncho — a painter, connoisseur and art historian of formidable energy and with an insatiable drive for knowledge. Of samurai lineage, Buncho underwent foundational art training ...

Seeing the wood for Enku's Buddhas

Jan 31, 2013

Seeing the wood for Enku's Buddhas

While a golden age for secular arts, Japan's Edo Period (1603-1867) is broadly dismissed by art historians as a period of stagnation for Buddhist sculpture.

Harnessing the spirit of Kuniyoshi

Dec 20, 2012

Harnessing the spirit of Kuniyoshi

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861) belongs to a category of ukiyo-e print artists that have long polarized art historians and connoisseurs for their jarring colors and compositions, cynical depictions of sex and violence, and use of Western pictorial techniques. These so-called “Decadents” were seen to represent ...

The lacquered layers of master Shibata Zeshin

Nov 22, 2012

The lacquered layers of master Shibata Zeshin

With a career spanning Japan’s transition from disintegrating feudal regime to modern nation, Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891) was an exceptional artist, reaching the zenith of both painting and lacquer. Nezu Museum’s exhibition “Shibata Zeshin: From Lacquer Arts to Painting” presents 139 objects from arguably the ...

Exploring what makes the fabric of a nation

Jun 28, 2012

Exploring what makes the fabric of a nation

Held in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the reversion of Okinawa from U.S. to Japanese control, “Bingata: Colors and Shapes of the Ryukyu Dynasty” presents 245 examples of vibrantly colored textiles and stencils produced in the Ryukyu Kingdom, which between the 14th and ...