Past Exhibitions

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

Many Kyoto temples have extraordinary collections of ceramics, preserved over centuries. These include everything from luxurious imported Chinese porcelains to lavishly decorated Kyoto ware from the Momoyama period (1573–1615) and Edo period (1615–1868). Here in Kyoto, the center of Japanese culture for a millennium, these objects decorated interiors and fulfilled a variety of quotidian functions. This gallery offers a unique opportunity to view the diversity of ceramic masterworks from Kyoto temples and shrines.

Kyoto Ware Potters and Kyoto Temples and Shrines
August 14, 2019 - September 16, 2019

Kyoto ware (Kyō-yaki) ceramics, produced and fired here in the ancient capital, flourished especially from the Edo period (1615–1868) onwards. One of the most celebrated early Kyoto ceramic artists was the seventeenth-century potter Nonomura Ninsei (dates unknown), who was famous for his use of colorful overglaze enamels. A number of social and artistic trends of the day helped foster the collecting of Kyoto ceramics by temples. One was the popularity in temples of shoin architecture, with its alcoves and staggered shelves for displaying luxury objects. Temples also held cultural salons of a sort—intimate gatherings of members of the warrior class, the aristocracy, the townspeople, and the Buddhist priesthood. The designs of Kyoto ware ceramics were strongly influenced by the tastes of salon members, resulting in various distinctive, refined shapes and techniques. This gallery brings together works by Kyoto ceramicists who had close ties to its temples and shrines. These works relate to the other ceramics on view as well as to calligraphy by cultural figures active in Kyoto’s salons, on view elsewhere in this exhibition.

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