Asian Gallery (Toyokan) Room 8
November 1, 2016 (Tue) - December 23, 2016 (Fri)
Kobayashi Toan (1916–2007), born in 1916 in Kawagoe, Saitama, began learning seal carving from his father when he was 10 years old. He went on to study calligraphy and seal carving under renowned artists of the Meiji to Showa eras such as Hidai Tenrai, Ishii Soseki, Kawai Senro, and Nishikawa Yasushi. After being awarded the Grand Prize at Nitten (The Japan Fine Arts Exhibition) at the young age of 34, he continued to lead the world of seal carving. He also learned from major Asian historians including Kato Joken and Ota Muan to cultivate his knowledge of characters and seals. He published a large number of papers and books about calligraphy and painting, as well as ancient seals. Furthermore, he avidly collected Chinese seal albums, ancient seals, calligraphic works, and paintings, later donating 423 rare seal albums to the Tokyo National Museum. Through his artistic and scholarly accomplishments, he became a member of the Japan Art Academy at age 77, was recognized as a Person of Cultural Merit at 82, and was awarded the Order of Cultural Merits at 88, as the first seal carver to receive the order.
The year 2016 marks the centennial of Kobayashi Toan's birth. This exhibition features the outstanding achievements of his 91‐year life, including his own works as well as Chinese calligraphy and paintings that he collected. It is our hope that this exhibition deepens understanding of the concentrated world of seals that Kobayashi Toan pursued throughout his lifetime, and provides a chance for Asian art to become familiar to wider audiences.
Lastly, we express our deepest gratitude to the owners who generously lent their artworks for this exhibition, and the Kenshin Shodokai for their outstanding contributions, as well as the many individuals and institutions who made this exhibition possible.