Past Exhibitions

Feature Exhibition in Celebration of ICOM Kyoto 2019
Masterworks of the Kyoto National Museum: Temple and Shrine Treasures
Lacquer Treasures from Temple and Shrine Collections
August 14, 2019 - September 16, 2019

Lacquer is a material that, once hardened, is extremely durable. The sap of the lacquer tree (Toxicodendron vernicifluum) can also be used as an adhesive. In Japan, these qualities were combined into the decorative technique of makie, in which gold and other metallic powders are sprinkled into viscous lacquer and hardened into pictorial designs that are both exquisite and long-lasting. This gallery features a range of important lacquers, including boxes for sacred Buddhist scriptures, cosmetic utensils offered to the Shinto gods, and elegant secular writing and incense utensils, as well as lacquers from other parts of the world. Many have provenances associating them with renowned historical figures. This is a rare opportunity to view masterworks of lacquer long preserved in Japanese temples and shrines.

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