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The Beauty of Auspicious Motifs: Scattered Fan Design

The Beauty of Auspicious Motifs: Scattered Fan Design / Honkan Room 14   January 2, 2016 (Sat) - February 28, 2016 (Sun)

  
Tebako (Cosmetic box), Scattered fan design in maki-e lacquer, Muromachi period, 15th century (Important Cultural Property)

In connection with the New Year season, this exhibition features works with “scattered fan” designs, giving special attention to the auspicious nature of these designs and the diverse paintings that decorate each of their fans.

The fan is considered a propitious object in Japan because of its shape, which flares out, becoming increasingly wider and therefore symbolizing prosperity. The fans in scattered fan designs have different shapes and are decorated with various paintings, qualities which made these designs interesting to the Japanese. From the Kamakura period (1192–1333), they were incorporated into an assortment of decorative artworks, ranging from objects for cosmetics and stationary as well as incense ceremony utensils, to folding screens, ornamental nailhead covers, sword fittings, and garments.

In particular, there are a number of fine cosmetic boxes, which were used to keep cosmetics and other miscellaneous objects for everyday use, that feature scattered fan designs in maki-e lacquer. These boxes were also placed in living spaces as decorations and their designs often had auspicious motifs, including scattered fans.

The individual fans depicted in these patterns are painted with plants, trees, and natural scenery such as fields and shorelines. In fact, the fans in a single design are almost never decorated with the same painting, and may be appreciated individually or compared to one another. We invite visitors to view these designs not only as auspicious decorations, but also to enjoy the individual paintings on each of their fans.

 

 Major works in this exhibition
* Works listed below are in the TNM Collection unless otherwise indicated.
 Major works in this exhibition
* Works listed below are in the TNM Collection unless otherwise indicated.
Tebako (Cosmetic box), Scattered fan design in maki-e lacquer, Kamakura-Nanbokucho period, 14th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by the OKURA MUSEUM OF ART)
Tebako (Cosmetic box), Scattered fan design in maki-e lacquer, Muromachi period, 15th century (Important Cultural Property)
Mirror, Scattered fan design, Nanbokucho period, 14th century
Kosode (Garment with small wrist openings), Young pine, cherry blossom, and curtain design on white figured satin ground, Edo period, 18th century


 

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