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Scenes from Late Qing Dynasty China: Photographs by Ogawa Kazumasa, Hayasaki Kokichi and Sekino Tadashi

Scenes from Late Qing Dynasty China: Photographs by Ogawa Kazumasa, Hayasaki Kokichi and Sekino Tadashi / Heiseikan Thematic Exhibition Room   May 25, 2010 (Tue) - July 4, 2010 (Sun)

  
Gate of Supreme Harmony, By Ogawa Kazumasa, Dated 1901 (on exhibit through June 6, 2010)

Around the turn of the 20th century, prior to the end of China's Qing dynasty (1644-1912), curiosity surrounding Qing arts and artifacts gained momentum in Japan. In 1893, accompanied by artist and scholar of Chinese art Hayasaki Kokichi, Okakura Tenshin traveled through China for over five months on a quest to discover the roots of Japanese art. The travels of Tenshin, himself an artist, art historian and educator, precipitated numerous other research expeditions to China from Japan.

In 1901, a party from Tokyo Imperial University which included the architectural historian Ito Chuta traveled to Beijing with photographer Ogawa Kazumasa to study the architecture and ornamentation of China's Forbidden City. From 1903 to 1906, Hayasaki Kokichi surveyed China's Shanxi and Henan regions for the Tokyo Imperial Household Museum (present-day Tokyo National Museum), whilst architectural historian Sekino Tadashi visited China several times between 1906 and 1908 to study the Shanxi, Henan and Shandong regions.

During their travels these scholars took advantage of photographic technology, which had originated in Europe in the first half of the 19th century, to efficiently document their discoveries. At that time, photography was a vastly different process than it is today as it required glass-plate negatives which were both heavy and fragile. Nonetheless, Ogawa Kazumasa and his contemporaries mastered techniques which enabled them to produce photographs comparable in quality to the high-resolution images of today.

This exhibition focuses on the photographs taken by Ogawa Kazumasa in Beijing, as well as photographs by Hayasaki Kokichi and Sekino Tadashi. Taken over 100 years ago by photographers from Japan, these images offer glimpses of China during the bygone era of the late Qing dynasty.

 Major works in this exhibition

* Works listed below are in the TNM Collection unless otherwise indicated.
Gate of Supreme Harmony, By Ogawa Kazumasa, Dated 1901 (on exhibit through June 6, 2010)
Hangu Pass, By Hayasaki Kokichi, Dated 1903 (on exhibit from June 23, 2010)
Octagonal Brick Tower and Dharani Monument (From The Shinashashinjo Album), By Sekino Tadashi, Dated 1906 (on exhibit from June 23, 2010)
 Related Events

Gallery Talk "Scenes from Late Qing Dynasty China: Photographs by Ogawa Kazumasa, Hayasaki Kokichi and Sekino Tadashi" (In Japanese)
Thematic Exhibition Room, Heiseikan
June 29, 2010, 14:00
Speaker: Seki Noriko, Assistant Curator of Japanese and Asian Art