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Admired from Afar: Masterworks of Japanese Painting from the Cleveland Museum of Art

Admired from Afar: Masterworks of Japanese Painting from the Cleveland Museum of Art
Heiseikan Special Exhibition Gallery 1 & 2   January 15, 2014 (Wed) - February 23, 2014 (Sun)

  
God of Thunder, "Inen" seal, Edo period, 17th century
Photography © The Cleveland Museum of Art

This exhibition introduces the Japanese painting collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, a leading art museum in the United States. Through a well-balanced and extremely high-quality collection organized by themes and eras, this exhibition highlights the history and attraction of Japanese art.

Highlights of the Exhibition

General Information

Period Wednesday, January 15 - Sunday, February 23, 2014
Venue Heiseikan Special Exhibition Gallery 1 & 2, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)
Hours 9:30 - 17:00 (Last entry 30 minutes before closing)
Closed Mondays
Admission Adults: 1000 (800) yen
University students: 800 (600) yen
High school students: 600 (400) yen
Junior high school students and under: Free
* Prices shown in ( ) indicate group (more than 20 persons) discount tickets.
* Advance tickets available only for the two exhibitions, and for the three exhibitions.

Set admission tickets for the two exhibitions "Admired from Afar: Masterworks of Japanese Painting from the Cleveland Museum of Art" and "Engendering Beauty, Preserving Techniques: Artworks by Living National Treasures"
Adults: 1600 (1400) yen
University students: 1400 (1200) yen
High school students: 1000 (800) yen
Junior high school students and under: Free
* Prices shown in ( ) indicate advance and group (more than 20 persons) discount tickets.
* Persons with disabilities are admitted free with one accompanying person each.
* Advance tickets will be on sale at the Museum ticket office (during museum hours, 30 minutes before closing hour), Exhibition Website, e-Ticket Pia (P-code:765-821), Lawson Ticket (L-code:37001), Seven Ticket (Seven code:025-223), E-Plus and other major ticketing agencies until Tuesday, January 14, 2014.  

 

Access 10 minutes' walk from JR Ueno Station (Park exit) and Uguisudani Station
15 minutes' walk from Keisei Ueno Station, Tokyo Metro Ueno Station and Tokyo Metro Nezu Station
Organizers Tokyo National Museum, The Cleveland Museum of Art, NHK, NHK Promotions Inc., The Asahi Shimbun
With the Sponsorship of Sumitomo NACCO Materials Handling Group, Nissha Printing Co., Ltd., Hyster-Yale Materials Handling Inc.
With the Assistance of Japan Foundation, All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd., Nippon Cargo Airlines Co., Ltd.
General Inquiries 03-5405-8686 (Hello Dial)
Exhibition Website http://www.nichibisai.jp(In Japanese)
The website has closed with the end of the exhibition.

Set discount advance tickets for the three exhibitions Sold Out (August 12, 2013)

Set discount advance tickets are available for the three exhibitions:  "Admired from Afar: Masterworks of Japanese Painting from the Cleveland Museum of Art", "Engendering Beauty, Preserving Techniques: Artworks by Living National Treasures", (at Tokyo National Museum) and "The Masterpieces of NIHONGA" (at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum). Please have a choice of the first half period or the second half).
Set discount advance tickets(limited 5000) will be on sale at Exhibition Website and other major ticketing agencies from Thursday, August 1, 2013 to Monday, September 30, 2013, 5000 limited. (This ticket is not available at the Museum ticket office)

Set advance tickets for the three exhibitions End of sale (January 15, 2014)
Set advance tickets for three exhibitions (Adults: 2400 yen) will be on sale at the Museum ticket office (during museum hours, 30 minutes before closing hour), Exhibition Website, e-Ticket Pia (P-code:765-821), Lawson Ticket (L-code:37001), Seven Ticket (Seven code:025-223), E-Plus and other major ticketing agencies from Tuesday, October 1, 2013 to Tuesday, January 14, 2014.

Next venue

Kyushu National Museum : Tuesday, July 8 - Sunday, August 31, 2014

Highlights of the Exhibition



Chapter I: Gods, Buddha, and Human Beings
Chapter II: Beauties of Nature: Flowers, Birds, Wind and Moon
Chapter III: Landscapes: Presentation of the World through Mountains and Waters
Final Chapter: The World of Japanese Stories
Feature: People and Nature in the Modern West

 

Chapter I: Gods, Buddha, and Human Beings

The spread of Buddhism brought images of Buddha into Japan, as well as the knowledge of ancient Chinese myths and legends and literary characters, which were portrayed in paintings together with an admiration for China. The Japanese absorbed Chinese artistic motifs and techniques, then went on to transform images of those gods and figures to suit their own culture and religious sentiment.

Although portraits of emperors, nobles, and priests did actually resemble the subject at times, more often their traits and personalities were expressed through mannerisms and costumes emphasizing their virtue and noble character. And in the early modern period, the common people, initially appearing in earlier paintings as part of the landscape, themselves became subjects of art along with their lifestyle, eventually developing into ukiyo-e in the Edo period. However, even in these art forms, depictions of figures were not realistic, with their facial expressions, clothing, and actions being expressed in an exaggerated manner.

 

God of Thunder
God of Thunder
"Inen" seal
Edo period, 17th century
Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund

 

The White Path to the Western Paradise across Two Rivers   Niga Byakudo: The White Path to the Western Paradise across Two Rivers
Kamakura period, 13th - 14th century
John L. Severance Fund

 

The Courtesan Jigoku ("Hell") Before a Screen
By Kawanabe Kyosai
Meiji period, 19th century
The Kelvin Smith Collection, given by Mrs. Kelvin Smith
   Beauty Before a Screen

 

Portrait of Reishojo   Portrait of Reishojo (Ling Zhaonu)
Calligraphy attributed to Shunoku Soen
Muromachi period, 16th century
Gift of Rosemarie and Leighton Longhi

 

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Chapter II: Beauties of Nature: Flowers, Birds, Wind and Moon

Nature was feared for the natural disasters it caused, but nature was also a source of bounty and closely associated with everyday life. Japanese paintings in particular took motifs from nature, as well as animals and plants, as familiar subjects closely linked with the lives of the people.

Since ancient times, plants and natural phenomena such as cherry blossoms, spring showers, autumn flowers, and snow, were often featured in waka poems in association with birds and animals symbolizing the seasons, such as birds in spring and deer in autumn. Poets expressed their feelings and thoughts through transposing them on forces of nature and living creatures. These symbolic plants and animals were loaded with literary meaning and painted to represent a celebration of the lives of the people. Even divine beasts were not regarded with fear but portrayed with affection, as were natural phenomena such as rain and wind. In Japan, nature was not as an external force to be conquered but rather a presence which coexisted and even communed with humans.

 

 Dragon and Tiger
 Dragon and Tiger
Dragon and Tiger
By Sesson Shukei
Muromachi period, 16th century
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund

 

Pine and Camellias; Bamboo and Morning Glories (detail of Bamboo and Morning Glories
Attributed to Kaiho Yusho
Edo period, 17th century
John L. Severance Fund
   Pine and Camellias; Bamboo and Morning Glories

 

Ants Hauling a Pumpkin   Ants Hauling a Pumpkin
Attributed to Motsurin Joto
Muromachi period, 15th century
Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund

 

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Chapter III: Landscapes: Presentation of the World through Mountains and Waters

Historically, Japanese landscapes were paintings of famous locations. Sites having spiritual significance and lauded in poems for their beautiful scenery were made into paintings. These were not realistic renditions of the vistas but included images that were symbolic of that location: for instance, the Yoshino area of Nara was associated with cherry blossoms.

In Japan's medieval era, the ink-wash painting technique was introduced from China which enabled realistic depictions of scenery. However, even with this new technique, Japanese landscapes were not representations of the actual views. Japanese ink-wash paintings were created to provide images of sights with an elevated spirituality, such as deep mountains and heavenly valleys where immortal beings resided. In Japanese ink-wash paintings of the Muromachi to Edo period, even actual landscapes were painted as "ideal worlds" in which the scenery was comprised of abstract forms of mountains and rivers.

 

Winter and Spring Landscape
Winter and Spring Landscape
Attributed to Tensho Shubun
Muromachi period, 15th century
The Norweb Collection

 

Orchid Pavilion Gathering   Orchid Pavilion Gathering
By Soga Shohaku
Edo period, dated 1777
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund

 

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Final Chapter: The World of Japanese Stories

In the earliest Japanese literature, such as Taketori monogatari and Genji monogatari (Tales of Genji), the plots unfolded around the exchange of waka poems between male and female characters. Poems were created against a backdrop of changing seasons. And the poems always included a reference to nature. Nature and men were not enemies but rather parts of a harmonious whole. The emotions of the characters were expressed metaphorically through animals and plants.
In particular, the Ise monogatari (Tales of Ise) paintings which became popular in the early modern period show the strong links which existed between men and nature. The main character's loneliness and insecurity arc expressed through plants which changed color with the seasons, and even the emotion of fear is emphasized through the depiction of natural phenomena such as wind and rain. Furthermore, even when there are no portrayals of figures in a painting, the main character's presence and even his emotions can be understood by the plants which symbolize his sentiments. In the paintings, the emotions of the characters and nature are juxtaposed and merged into one.

 

 Irises
 Irises
Irises
By Watanabe Shiko
Edo period, 18th century
Gift of The Norweb Foundation

 

 Ivy Lane
Ivy Lane
By Fukae Roshu
Edo period, 18th century
John L. Severance Fund

 

Feature: People and Nature in the Modern West

Fight between a Tiger and a Buffalo
Fight between a Tiger and a Buffalo
By Henri Rousseau, 1908
Gift of the Hanna Fund
With the industrial revolution and social upheaval which occurred in the 18th and 19th centuries, Western society experienced a great transformation, giving rise to a new range of values and philosophies, exerting a great influence in the field of art as well. This change could be seen by the development of new techniques of expression. The impressionists used bright colors to portray scenes out of doors and experimented actively with new ways to render the interpretations and feelings of the artist on to their paintings.

From the Cleveland Museum of Art's extensive collection of modern art, portraits and landscapes of four artists are exhibited: Berthe Morisot, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Rousseau. Their paintings represent attempts at new artistic expressions on the relationship between man and nature during this period of modern history in the West which was an era of great social, economic, and political change.

 

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Photography © The Cleveland Museum of Art