Metalwork

Feature Exhibition; Hidden Treasures from a Merchant’s Storehouse:
The Hiromi Collection, a Legacy of Elegant Living
Part IV: Hobbies and Patronage
February 3, 2018 - March 18, 2018

The Hiromi family is an old merchant family in the city of Kaizuka, in Osaka (not far from Kansai Airport). Their family business, established in 1835, was a shipping brokerage (kaisen don'ya) for the rice trade. Thereafter, they added a variety of other divisions including fertilizer, stock investment, and bank management, which not only grew the family assets but also contributed to the development of modern industry in the region. Their spacious estate includes a 34 meter-wide machiya, a tea house, and four earthen storehouses (kura) filled with a vast treasure trove of artworks—painting and calligraphy, tea utensils, furnishings, and other luxurious objects. These long hidden treasures, including works by Itō Jakuchū, Shiba Kōkan, Shibata Zeshin, and others, have been discovered in recent years and donated to the Kyoto National Museum for preservation, study, and exhibition to the public.

Part IV: Hobbies and Patronage

The heads of the Hiromi family enjoyed a range of different hobbies, including archaeological artifact collecting, Noh theater chanting and dance, and bonseki—miniature sculpted tray landscapes of rock and sand.
Family members were also active patrons of the arts, sometimes interacting directly with leading artists and cultural figures of the day—even fishing together. The collection includes hanging scrolls by contemporary painters Hashimoto Kansetsu (1883–1945) and Ikuta Kachō (1889-1978), as well as paintings in unusual formats by leading artists such as Kikuchi Keigetsu (1879–1955), and Nishimura Goun (1877–1938), exemplifying the creativity of the age.

A Message to Museum Visitors

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