Those who appreciate permanent displays should have a look at the Works of Living National Treasures and Great Masters exhibit at the Crafts Gallery at the National Museum of Modern Art. The exhibit itself is small, but it’s not going away any time soon. It’s part of a program that presents the work of living national treasures as well as other leading artists. Of course those who appreciate fine yakimono art will see plenty of it alongside lacquer ware, wood and metalwork.
A living national treasure is an individual who has experienced such a high level of skill in their field that their own person is numbered amongst the cultural properties that the nation of Japan considers national treasures. Yakimono artists who achieve a great level of skill can join other individuals labeled as national treasures in fields like kabuki and woodworking.
Getting into the gallery at Chiyoda-ku won’t cost much at all. In fact high school students, children and senior citizens get in free. College students will have to pay a measly ¥70. Even adults won’t have to pay anything more than ¥200.
Those who want a more concrete yakimono themed experience should have a look at the Small Imar-yaki Exhibition at the Toguri Museum of Art. While it will be closing on September 23, the exhibit has a great number of objects that show off the history of imari-yaki.
Some artists have said that small intricate designs define Japanese art and engineering. The pieces on display are no different. Itokiri-seikei was discovered in the 17th century and provided a way for artists to thread cut shape bowls and dishes. This lead to a plethora of designs coming around that featured these techniques.
While the exhibit certainly will increase one’s appreciation of historic art, that’s not at it will do. Making yakimono art like this takes an incredible amount of skill. Such work is naturally very tedious because of the small sizes involved. As a result the artists who make it spend years perfecting their craft.
By viewing the pieces, museum patrons should experience a profound new respect for such artistic techniques. It takes an unbelievable amount of time to produce these sorts of platters and cups. One would hope that those who come to appreciate the art would also take their time to enjoy it.
The exhibition is being held at the Toguri Museum of Art. The museum was finished in 1987 and holds a number of different works of Japanese art as well as pieces from Vietnam, China and Korea. Unlike a number of these other venues, it’s located in a residential area near Shoto, Shibuya. While it’s in the center of Tokyo, the Toguri Museum of Art is in a rather sleepy part of the city and beckons those who want a relaxing enjoyable experience.