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Artists to the Imperial Household

Artists to the Imperial Household / Honkan Room 19   September 8, 2009 (Tue) - December 6, 2009 (Sun)

  
Large Vase, Plum tree design in iron brown under yellow glaze, By Miyagawa Kozan I, dated 1892 (Important Cultural Property)

Artists to the Imperial Household were appointed under an honor system created to support artists and promote the fine arts. Artists to the Imperial Household received patronage for life, and were responsible for producing artworks and acting as advisors to the director of the Imperial Household Museum (present-day Tokyo National Museum).

The imperial artist system had its beginnings in 1888 when 17 specialists, including Kano Natsuo, a maker of sword-fittings, were appointed as Artisans to the Ministry of the Imperial Household - a title which later became "Artist to the Ministry of the Imperial Household." The system of appointing artists directly to the imperial household was established in 1890 to encompass both the fine and decorative arts.

Over 13 occasions between 1890 and 1944, a total of 79 artists were appointed under the imperial artist system. The system covered numerous genres: ceramics, cloisonné, lacquerware, textiles, metal art, swords, paintings, sculpture, architecture, photography, seal engraving and design.

The Imperial Household Museum was greatly involved in the selection of Artists to the Imperial Household. As a result, the Tokyo National Museum (the Imperial Household Museum's present incarnation) holds a great number of their artworks in its collection. This exhibition presents a selection of these works from the ceramic, metal art and lacquerware genres.

 Major works in this exhibition

* Works listed below are in the TNM Collection unless otherwise indicated.
Large Vase, Plum tree design in iron brown under yellow glaze, By Miyagawa Kozan I, dated 1892 (Important Cultural Property)
Album of Lacquer Paintings, By Shibata Zeshin, Meiji period, 19th century
Set of writing box and writing-paper box, Design of tanzaku-paper with genjiko pattern in maki-e lacquer, By Kawanobe Itcho, dated 1903 (Gift of Mr. Mino Kei)
Eagle, By Suzuki Chokichi, 1892 (Important Cultural Property)
Large Vase, White porcelain, Grape scroll design in relief, By Itaya Hazan, Showa period, 20th century