[Winter Exhibition] Masaki Art Museum Masterpieces
The Masaki Art Museum in Tadaoka-cho, Senboku-gun in Osaka has a wide range of tea utensils, Buddhist art works and archaeological materials focusing on medieval ink paintings and calligraphy.
This exhibition will be the 8th on the 25th floor of the Park Hotel Tokyo. For this exhibition, we have chosen, among the collections of the Masaki Art Museum, artifacts from the Song and Ming Dynasties in China, and burial objects from the Han Dynasty. These treasured artworks which came from China, which were regarded in medieval Japan as supreme works of art, had a major impact on aesthetic sense in Japan thereafter.
We hope you enjoy the world of art as seen from the eye of medieval Japan.[Date] December 12 (Mon.) 2016 ～ March 9 (Thu.) 2017
[Place] Atrium, Park Hotel Tokyo (25F)
[Fare] Admission Free [About the Masterpieces]
1. Celadon Glazed Incense Burner Jiaotan Ware, Southern Song Dynasty
Jiaotan ware refers to “Guan ware”, which existed in the countryside south of Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province, China, during the Southern Song Dynasty when pottery-making reached its peak. The whole vessel body is thinly glazed blue-grey, and due to color variations when firing, there are many parts with a yellowish brown color. The unglazed parts of the tips of the legs are reddish-brown, due to firing.
The incense burner has a thick short head extending from a level body, a rim which extends horizontally, and three legs. Originally, it resembled China bronze ware called a li (kettle), but in Japan, as it looked like a person wearing a hakama (long pleated skirt worn over kimono), it was called an Incense Burner in the Shape of a Hakama.
The metal lid, which is made of bronze openwork, was added later.
2. Henan Temmoku Incense Container, Northern Song Dynasty
Henan Temmoku is the black glazed pottery made in the Huabei region around Henan Province in China. The temmoku glaze which has a black or dark-brown color tone was used to produce many vessels including tea bowls, pots, vases and containers.
In this work, the dark brown glaze which contains iron is applied to the outside and inside of the body, and to the surface of the lid.
The bottom is unglazed revealing black-brown clay, and is made into a solid base (separated with a spatula or the like on the potter’s wheel, and then fashioned into a flat bottom).
The dome-like lid and the palm-sized shape of the vessel are exceedingly beautiful.
It also has three-wooden-leg plinth which is carved with a thunder pattern and arabesque pattern.
3. Celadon Glazed Longquan Ware, Southern Song Dynasty
In the past, it was thought that this was made of Xiuneisi Guan ware, a kiln used for official purposes which produced blue porcelain in the Southern Song Dynasty in China, but is now considered to be a superior work of Longquan ware which developed around Longquan city in Zhejiang Province, China.
The whole body has a thin, even blue glaze. It also has a layer of thick glaze of clear blue-green without any muddiness, and a fine finish reflecting the potter’s individuality and character which make the work so interesting. The flat brim mouth is similar to that of silverware at the end of China’s Northern Song Dynasty, which suggests the possibility that this work was an attempt to imitate it.
4. Pixie, Painted Kaito Earthenware, Han Dynasty
Kaito is a kind of Chinese earthenware where the clay was given a grey-blue color after firing. Since it was hard and very practical, it was used for various vessels in daily life. It is thought that this work was painted after the clay was fired and whitened. Although very small amounts of red paint can be seen in parts, most of this has now peeled off to reveal the clay, so the original appearance of the paint when it was produced is now hardly visible.
Pixie was an imaginary, auspicious animal in ancient China, which was thought to exorcise evil spirits. Many statues like this one appear to have been placed to guard the dead at entrances to graves.
5. Xiangrui Plate in the shape of Honewort, Ming Dynasty
This is a plate in the shape of honewort with very narrow leaves. It has a thick white glaze, apart from the rim and tatami-tsuki (foot part that touches the tatami floor), and the whole body is further covered in a transparent glaze. The white clay is molded rather thickly, making the object rather heavy.
The inside is finished in a fresh underglaze blue. The base is split into three parts, and covered in a landscape or turtle shell pattern without any gaps, while the side is painted all around with a waterside scene featuring boatmen and castle.
Xiangrui were made at Jingdezhen during the Chongzhen Period (1628-1644) in the end of the Ming Dynasty. It is thought that the characteristic of Japanese design was due to the fact that it was mainly in high demand by Japanese tea masters.