[Traveling exhibition / Tokyo] Magnificent Maki-e: Tales of Urushi and Gold over a Thousand Years

Mitsui Memorial Museum
October 1 – November 13, 2022

Jointly organized by the MOA Museum of Art, Mitsui Memorial Museum, and the Tokugawa Museum, this exhibition showcases superb works of maki-e, with the total of 188 works, including 25 National Treasures and 51 Important Cultural Properties (works on view will be slightly different at each venue).

The works include masterpieces representing each era from the Heian period (794-1192) to the present time. Through the display of maki-e and other arts and crafts such as paintings, calligraphy and No masks, this exhibition traces the history of maki-e and the legacy of beauty created by the Japanese people.

Recommendations from Koryuen:
• Some inro from the Tokugawa Museum will be on view at all the venues!
• Rarely have so many masterpieces of maki-e been displayed in one exhibition!
• Both the catalogue and captions of the maki-e works are rich in explanations of the maki-e designs and their motifs of waka poems and Noh chants.
• Through picture scrolls, viewers can learn how maki-e furnishings were actually used in the Heian period.
• Also on display are the finest old calligraphy that share the same decorative style as maki-e.
• Viewers can learn about literature, Noh plays, and calligraphy, and those who are familiar with these arts will also find much to enjoy.


Julia Hutt (a former V&A curator) and I did the
English translations of the exhibition catalogue
and large section panels in the gallery!

Mitsui Memorial Museum

Address: Mitsui Main Building, 7th Floor, Nihonbashi Muromachi 2-1-1, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 103-0022
Website: http://www.mitsui-museum.jp

Special website for the exhibition: https://maki-e.exhibit.jp

Dates and Venues:
MOA Museum of Art, Shizuoka: April 1 – May 8, 2022
Mitsui Memorial Museum, Tokyo: October 1 – November 13, 2022
The Tokugawa Museum, Nagoya: April 15 – May 28, 2023

Pamphlet, Mitsui Memorial Museum, 2022