Monday, May 28, 2012
I went to Tokyo two weeks ago for seeing the exhibition in Tokyo National Museum. They exhibit Japanese Classical art collection, which the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has.
In Meiji Era, about a hundred years ago, Japan was changing dynamically by the influence of western culture, and many Japanese old artworks and crafts were sold out. Additionally, Japanese government took a policy to avoid Buddhism culture to improve Shinto religious, which worship Japan’s original deities. It made many Buddhism statues destroyed mandatorily by Japanese themselves.
In that situation, Fenollosa and Bigelow bought variety kind of arts crafts, and Buddhism statues, and they took all of them home U.S.A. Fortunately, they respected these Japanese artworks, and tried to preserve them. After they died, they were donated to the museum. That’s why the museum has high quality and worthwhile Japanese old traditional art.
I was looking forward to meeting them when I hard that they come back to Japan in 2012, because I had been to the museum in Boston in 2008 to see Japanese art. However, I couldn’t see all of them because they didn’t always show all of them (especially valuable works) there and they were renovating some parts of their building just at that time.
When I went to the exhibition in Tokyo, I was surprised that those old classical works had very good condition. I realized that they were mended and maintained with respect by their enormous effort for a long term. I felt really thankfulness for the foreign people who deal with them regardless they were created in the far eastern little country.
I had some other surprised points. I am strongly interested in Rimpa art. Rimpa is a kind of way of art in Edo era. Ogata Korin is representative of Rimpa artist. The museum has one of his artwork, ‘Waves at Matsushima’. I have seen a lot of his artworks at many museums, but I have never seen more unique than it. It just shows some small stone island in wild wave. The artist used colors of orange, green and navy blue to these islands. This navy blue was very devastating expression for me. It was my discovery of Ogata Korin.
Second thing was Kano Tannyu’s artwork. Kano Tannyu was an painter in Edo era. ‘Kano-ha’ was a group of artists that began in fifteen’s century. They had very traditional way and techniques of art. However, I think that Kano Tannyu was a unique artist in their group, because I think that his screen structure was very simple and modernized. It was as the way of Rimpa as not Kano-ha. The museum showed one of his artworks in the exhibition. It was very small size of work, but I felt that it showed his unique aspect more strongly than his other works.
I found many new things for me in the exhibition. I’d like to go there again and I must do so.