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Arts of Japan

May 11, 2024 at 6:00:00 PM


Museum of Fine Arts Boston
465 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA

About the Event:

From their website:

These galleries open at 2 pm on May 11, following the Japanese Buddhist Temple Room Rededication ceremony.

The MFA has one of the most comprehensive collections of Japanese art anywhere in the world. Reimagined galleries explore Japan’s art and visual culture from the 7th century to today, including painting, sculpture, decorative arts, and selections from the Museum’s vast collection of ukiyo-e prints. Evocative spaces include the renovated Japanese Buddhist Temple Room, which opened in 1909, and an adaptation of a traditional tea room, with tatami mats and an alcove. Multimedia displays illuminate performative art forms, such as Nō theater, bringing their drama to life.

The new space for the Museum’s unparalleled Japanese collection—which was the first of its kind in America when established in 1890, and now holds about 100,000 objects—will change regularly, giving visitors the opportunity to see even more works in a setting that honors and celebrates Japan’s rich history and cultural legacy.

Arts of Japan

Through treasures from the collection, this gallery introduces major forms of Japanese art including paintings, Nō masks and robes, swords and sword furnishings, netsuke carvings, and ceramics. Organized thematically, the presentations provide different approaches to appreciating distinctive Japanese genres and aesthetics such as an Edo-period folding screen by Ogata Kōrin, Waves at Matsushima (18th century), which depicts pine-clad islands with bold, decorative patterning and abstracted forms. The gallery also offers an overview of how the objects on view functioned in their original contexts and explores the creative traditions in which they were made.

Gallery 280

Japanese Buddhist Temple Room

This contemplative space invites reflection and appreciation of the Museum’s collection of Japanese Buddhist sculpture. In recent years, these celebrated works have undergone extensive conservation work, including the monumental Dainichi, Buddha of Infinite Illumination (1149), the supreme and central deity of Esoteric Buddhism. The room’s architectural elements, though not a replication of a specific site, are adapted from plans for an 8th-century monastic complex and give the sense of being inside a centuries-old Japanese temple hall.

Gallery 279

Japanese Print Gallery

The MFA’s celebrated Japanese print collection is the the largest outside Japan, with over 50,000 sheets from the 8th century to the present. To show as many as possible and to preserve the prints’ delicate colors by reducing light exposure, the MFA rotates prints and presents a new thematic exhibition about every six months. “Reworking the Past: Japanese Prints Old and New,” the current exhibition in the print gallery, compares 19th-century ukiyo-e prints to contemporary prints made from the 1950s through the 2010s.

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