Exhibition | A Secret Beauty: The Spirit of Japanese Maki-e | Oriental & Asian Art at Brunei Gallery SOAS | London | Art Week

A Secret Beauty: The Spirit of Japanese Maki-e

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Thursday, 11 July 2019 to Thursday, 12 September 2019

An exhibition of the Lacquer Work of Koyanagi Tanekuni

Lacquer has been used in Japan for almost 10,000 years to protect and decorate objects, such as wood, bamboo, earthenware, and textiles.  Its resistance to moisture and degradation make it a useful coating for utensils, storage containers, furniture, sculpture and wooden architecture.  As a decorative medium, lacquer has had a high status in Japan.  The lacquerware decorated in gold and silver particles known as makie, which was first introduced in the 8th century, is a culmination of Japanese aesthetic sensibility and purity.  The value and prestige of lacquerware is shown by the status of its patrons, which included emperors, nobilities, shoguns and daimyos.

The artist, Koyanagi Tanekuni studied makie and Japanese aesthetics under three holders of the title Ningen kokukō (‘Intangible Cultural Property’ also known as ‘Living National Treasure’), namely Matsuda Gonroku (1896–1986), Ōba Shōgyo (1916-2012), and Taguchi Yoshikuni (1923-1998).  As a renowned makie artist for the past 50 years, Koyanagi has been a regular exhibitor at the “Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition”, as well as contributing works to many group and one-man exhibitions. He has also actively been involved in the conservation and preservation of national cultural properties and treasures in Japan, such as the preservation of the Chuson-ji temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site

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University of London

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