Pieces of Old Imari porcelain serve as reminders of the tragedy of war and reviving them symbolizes the hope for world peace.
A number of the Old Imari porcelain works, which were exported in the 17th century and preserved at Loosdorf Castle in Austria, will return to their home country of Japan to be displayed at the Okura Museum of Art in Tokyo’s Minato Ward, from Nov. 3 to Jan. 24.
Although the porcelain works were intact when shipped overseas, they were tragically broken into pieces during World War II.
When the Soviet military took over the castle during the war, they destroyed the porcelain works, including Japanese Old Imari items, the Piatti family, the owners of Loosdorf Castle, had collected. The Piatti family returned to the castle after the war and found their treasures reduced to fragments.
The family, however, decided to keep and display the pieces in the castle, which was opened to visitors, to remind people of the tragedy of war.
Now, the pieces of Old Imari porcelain, some of which have been restored to their original form, have been brought back to Japan for an exhibition titled “The Destruction and Rebirth of Exported Old-Imari – The Tragedy of Loosdorf Castle,’’ thanks to the cooperation of the group Reviving Old Imari Porcelains (ROIP).
The exhibition includes talks by ROIP Chairperson Machiko Hoshina on Nov. 14, Gakushuin University professor Masaaki Arakawa on Dec. 5 and porcelain restorer Koji Mayuyama on Jan. 9.
Produced in Aritacho, Saga Prefecture, Imari porcelain enjoys a long history. Porcelains made during the Edo Period (1603-1868) are considered Old Imari and have more classic features.
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