Exhibition Outlines

No.20 Ethnic Sprits and Forms (1999/1/9 - 1999/3/14)

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Ethnic Sprits and Forms

Many gifts to the Imperial family received by various people of foreign countries are among the Sannomaru Shozokan collection. A few of them were introduced within the “Gifts from Abroad - The Shine of Gold and Silver” Exhibition (1996) and the “Modern Art of Europe - Revaluation of Forgotten Works” Exhibition (1997), and this time we are introducing gifts from royal families or sovereigns of 15 countries, mainly of the Asian and African areas where the cultural traditions and contemporary sense show us a harmonious beauty, along with New Zealand, Panama, and Bulgaria.

Being positioned between western Europe and China or Japan, the regions from southeast to western Asia produced unique cultures influenced by these countries. Among their designs can be seen profound shades of religious colors such as of Buddhism, and also various flora1 Patterns. Furthermore, metal, lacquer, and wooden inlay techniques show relations with our country’s craft techniques, and the fact that various materials other than metal and wood are used such as precious stones, ivory, corral and shells is a regional characteristic of the areas blessed with both mountains and seas.

The works of the African areas show the strength of life which is the human source, within depictions of man’s daily life and animals upon natural materials such as ivory, gourds, or stones. An eternal cultural and formative quality unique to each nation is quite alive, while being influenced by western Europe modern art, including paintings. The same thing can be said of paintings of Panama and Bulgaria.

The works introduced in this exhibition were all selected as gifts from sovereigns to represent their countries’ cultures. We hope that you will be able to encounter the spirits cherishing and being proud of their own cultures, while viewing a fragment of these cultures cultivated by the peoples of each nation.