Past Exhibitions

Celebratory Lacquers for the New Year: The Minoya Collection
January 2, 2020 - February 9, 2020

The Minoya lacquerware shop was established in Kyoto in 1772 and lasted until 1945. It was renowned for selling top-quality lacquerware based on a traditional commission system, in which the works were produced after the costumers’ tastes and social standing. The process of making involved several traditional craftsmen co-operating in a division of labor: one turned bowls on a lathe, another joined the pieces of wood to create boxes, the lacquerer put on the initial layers, and another artist decorated the work with makie (sprinkled metallic powder decoration). The head of the Minoya shop had the role of the producer who organized the artists and conferred with its customers about the wished designs. The fact that it took up to one to three years from order to delivery tells us how detailed the process must have been and how much care was given to each step. This section features product examples from the Minoya shop that were shown to the costumers. The Kyoto lacquerwares exemplify the sense of perfectionism and playfulness of the prewar period, a period that was culturally and economically still largely operating after the values of the Edo period (1615–1868).

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