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Special Exhibition

Kōgei 2020 – The Art of Crafting Beauty from Nature

Hexagonal covered box with oak leaf design in maki-e and mother-of-pearl inlay, Murose Kazumi, 2014 (Private collection)

Hyokeikan :September 21, 2020 (Mon) - November 15, 2020 (Sun)

Kōgei 2020 – The Art of Crafting Beauty from Nature is a special exhibition hosted at the Tokyo National Museum’s Hyokeikan Gallery. The exhibition explores the relationship between nature and kōgei (Japanese craft arts) through a collection of works that are admired around the world, in both traditional and modern Japanese disciplines.

Momoyama: Artistic Visions in a Turbulent Century

Amusements under the Blossoms (detail), By Kanō Naganobu, Edo period, 17th century (National Treasure)

Heiseikan Special Exhibition Galleries :October 6, 2020 (Tue) - November 29, 2020 (Sun)

In Japanese political history, the Azuchi-Momoyama period refers to the 30-year period from the 1573 fall of the Muromachi shogunate until the establishment of the Edo shogunate in 1603. Focusing on the Momoyama arts that flourished during these years, the most vibrant and magnificent in Japanese art history, the many masterpieces presented here introduce Japan’s shifting aesthetics from the late Muromachi period through the early Edo period.

The 1543 arrival of firearms in Japan symbolized the beginning of what would become a warring states period that extended almost 100 years until Portuguese boats were banned from Japanese waters in 1639, a year after the Shimabara Uprising ended. During these years centered on the Azuchi-Momoyama period, Japan changed, shifting from the medieval to the pre-modern, from a time when samurai warlords rose to power through to the Edo shogunate's establishment of a peaceful regime.

This exhibition presents approximately 230 superb works to summarize the characteristics of the Momoyama period arts created in the turbulent years from the end of the Muromachi period through the early Edo period. What were the lives of the Japanese like during these chaotic years, what kind of culture did they develop? This exhibition’s assembly of art works from this almost century-long period will provide visitors with a chance to consider the “body and soul” of this noteworthy transitional time within the history of Japanese art.