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Utamaro-painting-lips-beni-brush-NPL

Kuchi-beni, Painting the Lips by Utamaro, Kitagawa (1753-1806), woodblock print, ukiyo-e, 36.3 x 24.8 cm, New York Public Library

BENIBANA: SAFFLOWER RED IN JAPAN
The use of safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) in Japanese culture has a long and rich history. From early times, it is has been referred to in songs and poems, used to dye textiles, and chosen to colour woodblock prints. Originating in the Middle East, the safflower (benibana in Japanese) spread into India and later along the Silk Road into China. It was from China that the safflower is thought to have entered Japan between the 2nd to 5th centuries; and was widely cultivated in Asia and Europe by the 13th century. In Japanese legends and poems, it is referred to by such names as kurenai and suetsumu-hana – the former is a shortening of kure-no-ai, the indigo plant known in the Wu dynasty (222-280), indicating that it probably entered Japan at this time…

 

THE ART OF NETSUKE

During the Edo period (1615-1868), in the 17th to 19th centuries, netsuke were worn as part of a carrying system that originally formed part of a male kimono ensemble by members of the samurai class, as well as men from the chonin (townspeople) class. As the kimono was secured with an obi (sash), in order to carry small, personal, items sagemono (collective term for β€˜hanging things’, such as purses, smoking utensils, writing cases, medicine carriers and seals) they were suspended on cords that hung from the obi…

 

1986.223,-Scene-with-Tanuki

Netsuke of a Scene with a Shape-shifting Tanuki, 19th century, ivory, gift of Mrs Virginia W Kettering, Dayton Art Institute

Rabbits

Famous rabbits of today, anonymous, circa 1868-1877, Meiji period. All images from the collection of the Edo-Tokyo Museum

ANIMAL IN JAPANESE ART

A fondness for pets and other animals knows no limits or boundaries, as can be seen in this exploration of the residents of Edo’s connection to animals and nature during the 18th and 19th centuries through Japanese prints. The exhibition marks the 25th anniversary of Maison de la culture du Japon in Paris. Co-organised with the Edo-Tokyo Museum, it brings together more than a 100 works to evoke the history of these relationships with animals that also reveal the unqiue culture in which this coexistence came into being. Shuko Koyama, curator and conservator at Edo-Tokyo Museum, draws attention to the fact that an enormous variety of animals can be found found on a diverse range of materials, including ukiyo-e, historical documents and books, as well as textiles, daily utensils, toys and other decorative items…

 

SHIGARAKI: CLAY AS SOFT POWER
This is the first exhibition to examine the important role that Shigaraki ware ceramics played in supporting American-Japanese diplomatic relations after the Second World War. Shigaraki ware originate from one of Japan’s six ancient kilns and are characterised by earthy tones, rough clay surfaces, and natural ash glazes. These objects, which began entering American museum collections in the 1960s, have become staples of Japanese art installations across the US …

StorageJar Muromachi

Storage jar, Muromachi period, late 14th-15th century, stoneware with natural ash glaze, Cleveland Museum of Art, John L Severance Fund, 1973

Asian and Islamic Works of Art

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