Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 14
August 25, 2009 (Tue) - October 18, 2009 (Sun)
Lacquerware is crafted using the sap of lacquer trees which inhabit the entire Asia region. From ancient times, lacquer-coated wares have been made and utilized not only in Japan but also in China, Korea, Southeast Asia and other Asian regions. Just as Japan developed techniques such as maki-e, in which smooth black lacquer is decorated with powdered gold, each of the regions and cultures developed their own unique techniques and expressions using the same material. Lacquerware is a genre of decorative art that represents the diverse cultures of Asia.
This thematic exhibition introduces lacquerware from China. In Chinese lacquerware, colors such as red, black, yellow and green were used, and decorative techniques included carving designs from heavily coated lacquer, combining fragments of shells to create inlaid designs, applying gold leaf into designs cut in thin lines, and creating inlaid designs with various colored lacquers. These techniques were employed in expressing the bold motifs such as five-clawed dragons, the Chinese symbol of the emperor; roundel arabesques; and pictorial expressions of birds, flowers, figures and palaces. Plain wares are also notable for their appealing forms. This exhibition highlights distinctive aspects of Chinese lacquerware, which is quite different from Japanese works in the same genre.