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Sometimes it seems that hands have a mind of their own. They remember where the keys are on a keyboard and which brushstroke in a Chinese character comes next, without too much conscious input from the brain. The instinctive way they work can also give a lot of art its style.

The hand is also the theme of the latest exhibition at Tokyo’s National Museum of Western Art (NMWA), “Traces of Hands: Sculpture and Drawings by Rodin and Bourdelle,” which looks at the great French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) and his distinguished student Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929).

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