January 2024 message from the Executive Director

I am sure that our readers are aware of the troubled start to the New Year in Japan. Our prayers and sympathies are with all those affected by the earthquake that brought so much devastation to the lacquer-producing city of Wajima, the surrounding areas of the Noto Peninsula and much of the Japan Sea coast of central Honshu. The extent of the damage is still becoming clear at the time of writing. And this was compounded by the terrible accident at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport the following day, which saw the nigh-on miraculous escape of everyone aboard the JAL jet but the tragic loss of the lives of most of those […]

Report on the talk ‘The Shōsōin Imperial Treasury: Reinterpretations’

In an exquisitely illustrated and engagingly delivered lecture, Yukio Lippit, Jeffrey T. Chambers and Andrea Okamura Professor of the History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University, introduced us to a series of striking new interpretations of the Shōsōin, the 8th century imperial treasury at Tōdaiji in Nara, widely regarded as containing the most important art collection in Japan. Small selections of its over 9000 treasures are displayed each autumn at the Shōsōin exhibition at the Nara National Museum, exhibitions which draw some of the largest audiences of any Japanese art shows. Highlights from the 75th exhibition in 2023 can be seen here. Professor Lippit began his talk with an […]

Heritage Open Days 2023

Japanese Performers in 19th – 20th century Norfolk On Saturday 16th September 2023, the Sainsbury Institute was delighted to open it doors to the public as part of Heritage Open Days. Welcoming visitors throughout the day, a variety of materials and information from the various research projects across the Institute was available for the public to read and explore. As part of the ‘Creativity Unwrapped’ theme for the 2023 event, the Institute also hosted a special display of materials and a talk related to Japanese performers who came to Norwich in the late 19th and early 20th century. Based on research by Pernille Rudlin as part of the Ninjin project, […]

Report on the talk ‘Nihonga – Restyling the Past and Present in Modern Japanese Painting’

In the Sainsbury Institute’s final Third Thursday Lecture of 2023, we were allowed to delve into the new nihonga collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The lecture, titled Nihonga: Restyling the Past and Present in Modern Japanese Painting, was given by Dr John Carpenter, who is currently the Mary Griggs Burke Curator of Japanese Art at ‘The Met’, and has been a long-standing friend of the Institute since his days at SOAS, University of London. John has an international reputation for his study of Japanese calligraphy, and as such, it was especially exciting to see his take on nihonga art with such a background. The presentation was enlightening, and […]