Jump to content

Decorative Arts | 16th–19th century

"Decorative Arts | 16th–19th century "

Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 8  January 2, 2022 (Sun) - March 21, 2022 (Mon)

Cards (Karuta) with Storage Boxes (detail), Edo period, 18th century

From the late 16th century, changes in society helped artisans to develop the decorative arts. In the Azuchi–Momoyama period (1573–1603), samurai warlords united Japan after more than a century of fighting. The following Edo period (1603–1868) saw economic growth under a new samurai government, with merchants and other people gaining the wealth to buy art.

Potters succeeded in making Japan's first porcelain in the early 17th century. Methods for decorating porcelain and other ceramics then became more diverse, as shown by works with gold, silver, and color enamels. Meanwhile, textiles saw rapid technical advances. The loom was improved to make complex weaves possible, while dyeing became as detailed and expressive as painting.

Items like furniture and dining sets were coated with lacquer and decorated with metal powders, most often gold. Lacquer workers refined this technique, called maki–e, and combined it with new materials for more elaborate designs. Metalworkers also began using a wider variety of base metals and alloys, creating works with greater detail and precision.

Major Work(s) on Exhibit 5 results
Designation Name Amount Creation Excavation Period Acquisition Ownership Comment
Highlight Cards ("Karuta") with Storage Boxes Edo period, 18th century H-498
Highlight Robe-Shaped Comforter with a Phoenix and Vines Passed down by the retainers of Kurume domain Edo period, 18th–19th century I-4296 On exhibit through March 6, 2022
Highlight Robe ("Kosode") with Bamboo, Plum Blossoms, and the Character for “Bush Warbler” Edo period, 18th century I-2922 On exhibit from March 8, 2022
Highlight Bottle with a Pine, Bamboo, and Plum Tree Imari ware Edo period, 17th century G-4728
Highlight Important Cultural Property Portable Dining Set with Dragons and Waves, Porcelain with underglaze blue By Aoki Mokubei (1767–1833) Edo period, 19th century Gift of Mr. Kasagi Tōru, G-5293