The cutting edge of samurai swords

Jul 7, 2004

The cutting edge of samurai swords

Attention to detail, design, and decoration are hallmarks of traditional Japanese aesthetics, and these values are shown off splendidly by the decorative elements and accoutrements of the Japanese sword. Furthermore, the sword is believed to be an almost sacred item, capturing the soul and ...

A Korean marriage of high and low art

Jun 23, 2004

A Korean marriage of high and low art

In Asia, June is traditionally the most popular month for weddings — as is evident from the ceremonies you’ll see happening around you every weekend. It’s timely, then, that the current exhibition at the Mingeikan (Japan Folk Crafts Museum) offers a glimpse of the ...

Edo craftsmanship in full flower

Mar 3, 2004

Edo craftsmanship in full flower

Located in Kitanomaru Park, a famous cherry blossom viewing spot in Kudanshita, central Tokyo, is the National Museum of Modern Art’s Crafts Gallery. It seems appropriate that during the flowering seasons of ume (plum) and cherry the gallery should be hosting a show titled ...

Welcome to the Zen garden of the real

Nov 19, 2003

Welcome to the Zen garden of the real

The artworks of an eminent father and son form the center of a striking exhibition that recently opened at Tokyo National Museum. On show in “Fusuma Paintings of Jukoin” are rare works by Kano Eitoku (1543-1590) and his father, Kano Shoei (1519-1592), which have ...

The razzle-dazzle of Edo life, art

Oct 15, 2003

The razzle-dazzle of Edo life, art

The allure of the Japanese folding screens of the Edo Period (1603-1867) lies in their elegance, their dazzling schemes of silver and gold, and the painstaking detail of their form and decoration. A wonderful opportunity to appreciate such pieces is the exhibition “Paintings of ...

Plain as blue and white

Jun 18, 2003

Plain as blue and white

In the 16th and 17th centuries, China produced exquisite porcelain that remained a virtual secret to the outside world — most of it was commissioned for the exclusive use of Japanese patrons. A new exhibition at the Seikado Bunko Art Museum, “Chinese Porcelains of ...

Stylish somethings for the boys of Edo

Feb 19, 2003

Stylish somethings for the boys of Edo

Accessories used to adorn men’s clothing in the Edo Period (1603-1867) are currently showing in an exhibition at the Seikado Bunko Art Museum, titled “Tsuba, Inro and Netsuke.” Though women’s fashions of the period have received considerable attention, the no less intricate accessories worn ...

Slip into Wonderland in a museum of marvels

Feb 5, 2003

Slip into Wonderland in a museum of marvels

The Koishikawa Annex of Tokyo University Museum is currently hosting an eye-catching exhibition, “Microcosmographia: Mark Dion’s Chamber of Curiosities.” The brainchild of New York-based contemporary artist Mark Dion, the show runs until March 2. Dion is a rare bird in the art world, drawing ...

Savoring and saving China's art

Oct 16, 2002

Savoring and saving China's art

Japan’s history is replete with examples of the assimilation of art and artifacts from China, yet in many cases the cultural traditions that produced them have disappeared in China itself. Often, the best clues to further our understanding of these lost artistic traditions lie ...

From the hands of masters down the ages

Jun 12, 2002

From the hands of masters down the ages

The most impressive of the numerous art exhibitions taking place this summer to celebrate South Korea and Japan’s co-hosting of the World Cup soccer finals opened on Tuesday at Ueno’s Tokyo National Museum. “The Dynastic Heritage of Korea,” running June 11 to July 28, ...