Jump to content

Karamono - Imported Chinese Artworks

  • Image of "From left:Snow Landscape,By Liang Kai,Southern Song dynasty,13cSakyamuni Descending from Mountain,By Liang Kai,Southern Song dynasty,13cSnow Landscape,Attributed to Liang Kai,Southern Song dynasty,13-14c(All National Treasure)"

    From left:Snow Landscape,By Liang Kai,Southern Song dynasty,13c
    Sakyamuni Descending from Mountain,By Liang Kai,Southern Song dynasty,13c
    Snow Landscape
    ,Attributed to Liang Kai,Southern Song dynasty,13-14c(All National Treasure)

    Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room T1
    September 11, 2007 (Tue) - October 8, 2007 (Mon)

    After the end of the Kamakura period in the early 13th century, many artworks were brought to Japan along with Zen Buddhism from China. These Chinese artworks were appreciated with Japan's unique aesthetic sense. Interior decorations or tools for the tea ceremony were made to be appreciated; they were not simply Chinese artworks, but a whole new style that came to be known as karamono.

    The important collection known as Higashiyama Gomotsu contains karamono items that are said to have belonged to Ashikaga Yoshimitsu and Ashikaga Yoshimasa of the Ashikaga Shogunate(1336-1573). The triptych Sakyamuni Leaving the Mountain and two Snowy Landscapes by Liang Kai were part of the Higashiyama Gomotsu collection. The triptych was mounted as a set of three hanging scrolls using gold brocade after they were imported to Japan. After the Ashikaga shogun, it was owned by the Sakai family of Wakasa province. Eventually Snowy Landscape came into the possession of the Mitsui family, while Sakyamuni and the other landscape were moved to Honganji temple. However, they left the temple and were eventually acquired by separate owners. The museum acquired the National Treasure Snowy Landscapes in 1948, Sakyamuni in 1997, and Snowy Landscapes in 2004. After many years the three scrolls were put together in the original form from the Higashiyama collection. Last spring, the three paintings were designated "National Treasure" by the government as a triptych.

    This special thematic exhibition "Karamono - Imported Chinese Artworks" was organized to commemorate this occasion. The display features the triptych by Liang Kai, a long with Summer Landscape (Kuonji) attributed to Hu Zhifu, Monkey attributed to Mao Song, as well as Celadon Glazed Tea Bowl known as Bakohan and Celadon Glazed Vase in the Shimokabura (globular body with long neck) Form (Arc-en-ciel Foundation).

 Major works in this exhibition

* Works listed below are in the TNM Collection unless otherwise indicated.
Summer Landscape, Attributed to, Southern Song dynasty,13th century (National Treasure)
Snow Landscape, By Liang Kai, Southern Song dynasty, 13th century (National Treasure)
Sakyamuni Desending from the Mountain, By Liang Kai, Southern Song dynasty, 13th century (National Treasure)
Snow Landscape, Attributed to Ling Kai, Southern Song, 13th-14th century (National Treasure)
Vase with Long Neck, Celadon glaze, Longquan ware, Southern Song dynasty, 13th century, China (National Treasure, Lent by Foundation Arc-en-ciel, Tokyo)