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The Present of Living National Treasures

The Present of Living National Treasures
Heiseikan Thematic Exhibition Room   January 15, 2014 (Wed) - February 23, 2014 (Sun)

Octagonal box with design in maki-e lacquer and mother-of-pearl inlay Named "Colored lights", Murose Kazumi, 2000 (Agency of Cultural Affairs)

166 artists have been designated as living national treasures in the field of decorative arts to this day. Currently, 56 persons are active as artists on the front line of Japanese decorative arts and training heirs to the traditional arts and techniques.

In this chapter, 53 artists from the six categories of ceramics, textiles, urushi work, metalwork, wood and bamboo work, and dolls are highlighted.

Living National Treasures produce works using traditional techniques they inherited as well as those they devised to hand down the future generations, to add new pages to the history of Japanese decorative arts.

This section sheds light on how they achieved their current creation styles, what they are thinking, and what they are intending to create anew; their thoughts on the tradition and what should be preserved today are shown together with the Living National Treasures' own comments.

Here are the Living National Treasures of today as the starting point of Japanese decorative arts of the future.

Major works in this exhibition
Marbled bowl with flower design, Mumyoi ware, Ito Sekisui V, 1997 (Agency for Cultural Affairs)
Tea bowl, Setoguro type, Named "Ascending Dragon", Kato Kozo, 2011 (National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo)
Tea bowl, Shino type, Suzuki Osamu, 2012 (Private collection)
Kouchiki (formal outer garment of court ladies) with yusoku (traditional design motifs for court noble's garments): Karahana (imaginary flower) roundels on common mallow pattern ground, Kitagawa Hyoji, 1989 (Private collection)
Warp brocade on gold ground, Named "Brilliant colors", Kitamura Takeshi, 2013 (Private collection)
Formal garment with embroidery and imprints in gold leaf, Named "Designs of Elegance", Fukuda Kiju, 2003 (Private collection)
Letter box with designs in kinma lacquer, Named "Pair of Birds", Ota Hitoshi, 1983 (Tokyo National Museum)
Box with flower design, Kitamura Shosai, 1997 (National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto)
Vessel of kanshitsu lacquer with radial line design, Masumura Kiichiro, 1988 (The University Art Museum, Tokyo University of the Arts)
Silver flower vessel with design in hammered inlay, Named "Sprouts", Okuyama Hoseki, 1997 (Agency for Cultural Affairs)
Wide-mouthed flower vessel in fukiwake (using two different metals) cast in lost-wax method, Saito Akira, 1995 (Agency for Cultural Affairs)
Flower vessel made with design in double inlay, Named "Forest in a Field", Nakagawa Mamoru, 2003 (Agency for Cultural Affairs)
Box with arabesque design in inlay, Osaka Hiromichi, 1998 (Tokyo National Museum)
Basket made in nami-chidori weave, Named "Mountain Seam", Katsushiro Soho, 1983 (National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo)
Foiled vessel finished in wiped lacquer, Murayama Akira, 2013 (Agency for Cultural Affairs)
Hamauri (Okinawan ceremony held on March 3rd in the lunar calendar), Akiyama Nobuko, 2000 (Agency for Cultural Affairs)
Forest where the Gods Reside, Hayashi Komao, 2003 (Private collection)

Related Exhibition

The 60th Japan Traditional Kōgei Exhibition
Engendering Beauty, Preserving Techniques: Artworks by Living National Treasures

Heiseikan Special Exhibition Gallery 3 & 4 January 15, 2014 (Wed) - February 23, 2014 (Sun)