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Exhibition Schedule

Current Exhibition
February 11 (Sat) - March 26 (Sun), 2017

50th Anniversary Exhibition
Ko-Garatsu— The Age of Great Ceramics

Ko-Garatsu, with unpretentious earthiness, bold form, and somewhat nostalgic colors, are said to be the treasure of Momoyama ceramics. Throughout his life, Idemitsu Sazo, the first director of the Museum, cherished Ko-Garatsu ware created in Kyūshū, and assembled a collection amounting to more than 300 items.Demonstrating varied expressions expressed in Oku-Gōrai, E-Garatsu and Chōsen-Garatsu, Ko-Garatsu not only gained appraisal of the Momoyama tea masters, but also captured the heart of modern critics such as Kobayashi Hideo. And it continues to attract ceramic lovers even today. Why do these ceramics attract and fill the heart of the Japanese people to such an extent? Ko-Garatsu is undoubtedly one of the important cores collections of the Museum. We hope that you will enjoy the beauty and charm of Ko-Garatsu through this exhibition.

Exhibitions 2011-2012

2016年度

April 9 (Sat) - May 8 (Sun), 2016

50th Anniversary Exhibition
Celebrating the Beauty of Japanese Art I : Four Seasons in Yamato-e

The Idemitsu Museum of Arts celebrates its fiftieth anniversary in 2016. To commemorate this very special year, the Museum will select and display, in three parts, masterpieces from its collection of Japanese paintings, including works designated as National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties.

The theme of Part I is yamato-e (Japanese-style painting). Yamato-e is characterized by a weave of brilliant colors and soft forms that are symbolic of traditional Japanese art whose development was led by the court culture. Especially the seasonal changes expressed in the depiction of trees and mountains, the details of flowers and birds were adorned by people of all times and the tradition of the elegant esthetic was passed down to later generations. This exhibition will feature masterpieces in the Museum collection created by the leading artists of the period, and they will show the splendid development of yamato-e. Items on display will include Important Cultural Properties, such as the "Illustrated Sutra of Past Causes and Present Effects" (Nara period), "Paintings of the Eight Patriarchs of Shingon Sect Buddhism" (Heian period), and the "Folding Screens of Flowering Plants of the Four Seasons" (Muromachi period). Also, the first volume of the "Illustrated Scrolls on the Courtier Ban Dainagon" (Heian period), designated National Treasure(Left, below), will be displayed.

May 13 (Fri) - June 12 (Sun), 2016

50th Anniversary Exhibition
Celebrating the Beauty of Japanese Art II : Sublimity of Suiboku

The theme of Part II is suiboku-ga (ink painting). Painters who fell in love with the mystic landscapes and could feel the tranquil atmosphere discovered beauty in the world created by the resonance of ink and brush. Japanese ink paintings developed greatly by using Chinese paintings as models and by adding a flavor original to the Japanese. For this exhibition, masterpieces by artists well-known and familiar to us through textbooks such as Muxi and Yujian with their representation of "Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers", as well as Nōami´s "Birds and Flowers of the Four Seasons" (1469 (Ōnin 3), Important Cultural Property), Hasegawa Tōhaku´s "Bamboo and Cranes" (Momoyama period), Ike Taiga´s "Landscape of the Twelve Months" (Edo period, Important Cultural Property), Tanomura Chikuden´s "A Study in the Grove of Blossoming Plum Trees" (Edo period, Important Cultural Property) will be on display. During the exhibition, the second volume of the "Illustrated Scrolls on the Courtier Ban Dainagon"(Left, below) will be exhibited.

June 17 (Fri) - July 18 (Mon), 2016

50th Anniversary Exhibition
Celebrating the Beauty of Japanese Art III : Flourishing Talents in Edo Painting

Part III of this exhibition series will feature Edo painting that developed dramatically in the history of Japanese painting, by exploring its varied appeal. In a period when the centers of Japan were separated in two, the imperial court and the shogunate, the world of painters was opened to new possibilities as they travelled between the two cultural centers in the east and the west and were equally active in them both. It was the Kanō School, Rimpa, ukiyo-e and still many other artists of different styles that led the period which was just liberating itself from traditional values. For this exhibition, paintings ranging from the screen painting, "Gion Festival" (Important Cultural Property), Hanabusa Icchō´s "Scroll of Shiki Himachi," Kitagawa Utamaro´s "Beauty Changing Clothes" to Sakai Hōitsu´s "Wind and Thunder Gods," a masterpiece of the late Edo period, which are representative paintings of the three hundred year-long Edo period, will be shown. We hope that you will enjoy the paintings by artists who actively produced works transcending the barrier of social class. The third volume of the "Illustrated Scrolls on the Courtier Ban Dainagon"(Left, below) will be on display.

July 30 (Sat) - September 25 (Sun), 2016

50th Anniversary Exhibition
Treasures of Asian and Japanese Ceramics — The Pageant of Splendid and Elegant Beauties

This exhibition will feature ceramics from the Chinese, Korean and Japanese masterpieces from the Museum collection. Representative works selected from the great traditions of ceramics are all exhibited at once, including Chinese Ming and Qing period ceramics of the Jindezhen kiln that fascinated the emperors and the court, the tea ceramics and utensils such as Ido and Ko-Garatsu whose beauty and value were discovered by the tea masters, the polychrome overglazed porcelain of the Ko-Kutani and Kakiemon styles that brought about revolution to the Japanese ceramics, and the Kyoto ceramics of Ninsei and Kenzan. The world, splendid and elegant as well as delicate and pure, is expressed through the form and design of the vessels. The multifaceted beauty emitted from ceramics will be shown from the items cherished in the Idemitsu collection since its opening, to the items which gained fame and importance due to the advancement of ceramic study in the recent years.

October 1 (Sat) - November 13 (Sun), 2016

50th Anniversary Exhibition
The Grand Sengai Exhibition — Spirit of Zen Assembled

Edo period Zen priest Sengai (1750-1837) is known for disseminating the teachings of Zen through laughter and humor. The paintings and calligraphy of Sengai, besides the collection of Shōfuku-ji in Hakata of which he was the head priest and of Kyohaku-in where he spent his retired life, the Idemitsu collection assembled by Idemitsu Sazo the first director of the Museum, the Fukuoka Museum collection and the Kyushu University, School of Letters collection (Former Collection of Dr. Morihiko Nakayama) are considered to be outstanding both in quality and quantity. These extraordinary collections of the eastern and the western Japan will meet for the first time since the exhibition held in 1986 (Shōwa 61) to commemorate Sengai´s 150th year memorial. This exhibition will present a chance to explore the world of Zen painting and to feel the spirit of Zen preached by Priest Sengai.

November 19 (Sat) - December 18 (Sun), 2016

50th Anniversary Exhibition
The Form of Kana—National Treasure "Minuyo no Tomo" and Masterpieces of Kohitsu

The soft and elegant Heian, the clear and strict Kamakura, the relaxing rigidity of the Nambokuchō, and the heavy and imposing Muromachi—forms and styles of calligraphy appear differently according to the time period. Where does this difference come from? We may not be aware today, but kana (Japanese script) has played the role of letters for writing waka (Japanese-style poetry). From the Heian to the Muromachi period, the social function of waka poetry moved from private to official, and to ceremonial and writers of waka evolved with the time period. For this exhibition, the National Treasure album of exemplary calligraphy "Minuyo no Tomo" together with forty other representative kohitsu (old Japanese calligraphy) from the Museum collection and some loaned items will be displayed to show that there exists a close relationship between kana and waka behind the stylistic differences of the calligraphy of each period.

January 8 (Sun) - February 5 (Sun), 2017

50th Anniversary Exhibition
Iwasa Matabei and Genji-e— Challenging the Classics

The year 2017 marks the 380th year since Iwasa Matabei (1578-1650) moved his artistic base from Kyoto and Fukui to Edo. Since his early years, Matabei has passionately challenged to express themes Japanese and Chinese, but the paintings depicting subject matter based on the masterpiece of Japanese aristocratic literature, Tales of Genji (genji-e), was the theme he continued to devote himself throughout his life. How did Matabei face this difficult theme taken from the classic of the classics? We will try to show the attempts of the artists as well as of Matabei who challenged to handle the theme. We hope that you will enjoy the appeal of Edo painting that was created by the fresh and dynamic conception of the artists who studied classics but were not bound to it.

February 11 (Sat) - March 26 (Sun), 2017

50th Anniversary Exhibition
Ko-Garatsu — The Age of Great Ceramics

Ko-Garatsu, with unpretentious earthiness, bold form, and somewhat nostalgic colors, are said to be the treasure of Momoyama ceramics. Throughout his life, Idemitsu Sazo, the first director of the Museum, cherished Ko-Garatsu ware created in Kyūshū, and assembled a collection amounting to more than 300 items.  Demonstrating varied expressions expressed in Oku-Gōrai, E-Garatsu and Chōsen-Garatsu, Ko-Garatsu not only gained appraisal of the Momoyama tea masters, but also captured the heart of modern critics such as Kobayashi Hideo. And it continues to attract ceramic lovers even today. Why do these ceramics attract and fill the heart of the Japanese people to such an extent? Ko-Garatsu is undoubtedly one of the important cores collections of the Museum. We hope that you will enjoy the beauty and charm of Ko-Garatsu through this exhibition.

2017年度

April 15 (Sat) - June 4 (Sun), 2017

Utensils of Cha no yu — The World of Japanese and Chinese Tastes

Cha no yu (tea ceremony), which was developed and perfected by Sen no Rikyu and other tea masters of the Momoyama period, entered into a new stage in the Edo period.  Daimyō (warrior leader) tea masters began to lead a new direction of cha no yu, and toward the late Edo period, sencha, a new type of tea ceremony, gained popularity.  Kyōyaki (Kyoto-made) and Kuniyaki (locally made) ceramics and the Hizen porcelain added color to the world of tea ceremony, as well as the karamono (items of Chinese origin) was treasured in the utensils of the daimyō.  One can see the establishment of a distinctive esthetic of tea ceremony through the merging of Japanese and Chinese worlds.  This show will introduce the development and beauty of the utensils cherished by the Edo period tea masters.

June 10 (Sat) - July 17 (Mon), 2017

The Winds of Suiboku-ga — Hasegawa Tōhaku and Sesshū

Suiboku-ga (ink-brush painting) is an expression of painting introduced from China, with a potential of infinitely hidden possibilities.  However, it was only during the Muromachi period that Japanese artists who had learned from the Chinese predecessors were able to attain their own art of expression. Sesshū was the first to study the real expression of ink and brush in Ming China.  It was Tōhaku who elevated the expression of suiboku-ga to match the Japanese sensibility.  This exhibition will feature masterpieces of Sesshū and Tōhaku, with fine examples from Chinese painting, to show the origin of their creative drive to bring about new trends by learning from the precepts of the Chinese masters.

July 25 (Tue) - September 3 (Sun), 2017

Forms and Expressions of Prayer — Introduction to Buddhist Art

Esoteric, Jōdo (Pure Land) or Zen--Buddhism has taken changing forms over the period of time and continues to gain deep religious piety until today.  Feelings for prayer has brought about the creation of beautiful Buddhist paintings and sculptures, protected and passed down over generations.  The mandala illustrating the grand world of esoteric Buddhism, paintings of yearned-for jōdo (Paradise) and terrifying judgment of Hell, paintings that depict ascetic patriarchs of zen tradition, as well as Edo period zen paintings will be displayed to trace the various aspects of Buddhist faith and solemnity.

September 16 (Sat) - November 5 (Sun), 2017

The Art of Edo Rimpa

The art of Rimpa was born in 17th century Kyoto and followed a splendid development.  It is in the 19th century that Sakai Hōitsu (1761–1828), born as the second son of Sakai Utanokami, the lord of Himeji domain, moved to Edo, and his student Suzuki Kiitsu (1796–1858) added further refinement to its style.  This marked the establishment of “Edo Rimpa.”  This exhibition will explore the appeal of Edo Rimpa that took the essences of Rimpa of Kyoto which was supported by the aristocratic style, and at the same time transformed it to an updated Edo esthetic.

November 11 (Sat) - December 17 (Sun), 2017

Styles of Calligraphy II — Succession and Originality of Beauty

It was after the studies of Chinese standards that the tradition of cherishing calligraphy as art was cultivated establishing a distinctive world in Japan.  The intellectuals of each time period were well acquainted with “calligraphic writing” and maintained discipline and numerous rules, but they also competed for skill on the other hand.  Such custom is still present today, bringing about many styles.  This show will try to seek how calligraphy was succeeded since the old days and how people sought for originality and ideal.  We will also consider the manners of how calligraphy can be appreciat with masterpieces from Chinese and Japanese calligraphy.

January 12 (Fri) - March 25 (Sun), 2018

Iro-e — Japan CUTE!

Iro-e, ceramics with polychrome overglaze enamels, flourished as colorful ceramics during the Edo period.  It is represented by porcelain such as Kokutani, Kakiemon and Nabeshima, as well as by the ceramics of Kyōyaki ceramicists, Nonomura Ninsei and Ogata Kenzan.  The fashion-conscious Kokutani ware arranged designs of kosode.  The design-oriented Kakiemon won world popularity especially attracting the western royalty and nobility.  The subtle feelings of the seasons characterized the Nabeshima ware and it was presented as gifts to the shōgun (supreme warrior leader).  The kawaii cuteness and literary characteristics decorated Kyōyaki.  All are distinguishing features of the multi-faceted Japanese culture reflected in the gorgeous world of iro-e.