What is a Japanese Living National Treasure?

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The British Museum has been collecting artworks made by Japanese Living National Treasures since 2007, but what is a Living National treasure and why are they so important to Japanese Cultural Heritage? In this film Nicole Rousmaniere, research director of SISJAC and Hayashida Hideki of the Japan Kōgei Association talk all about the Living National treasures programme and highlight some of the most beautiful pieces of Japanese craftsmanship collected by the Museum. This film series has been produced with the support of JTI.

Making beauty: Onishi Isao

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This series celebrates the work of living Japanese artists and craftspeople. Onishi Isao makes exquisitely beautiful wooden lacquer trays, bowls and plates. Each item takes one full year to create. He painstakingly shapes the raw wood, paints on hundreds of paper-thin layers of lacquer and polishes the pieces to a high shine. Every object is imbued with a vitality that belies its simplistic form. This film series has been produced with the support of JTI.

Making beauty: Suda Kenji

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This series celebrates the work of living Japanese artists and craftspeople. Using the traditional Japanese techniques of ‘sashimono’ and ‘kogei’, Suda Kenji creates artworks which are perfectly functioning miniatures of everyday objects that are almost startling in their beautiful perfection. This film series has been produced with the support of JTI.

Making beauty: Mori Junko

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This series celebrates the work of living Japanese artists and craftspeople. Mori Junko employs traditional Japanese metalworking techniques including hand-forging steel with thousands of individually hand-cut nails crafted together to create compelling sculptural forms. Her signature piece is now in the Museum’s Japanese collection. She takes inspiration from the world around her and uses her imagination to turn metal into organic sculptural forms. She initially worked as a welding assistant in Toma steel factory. In 1998 she came to the UK and enrolled in a silversmithing and metalworking degree at Camberwell College of Art. Now based in the Llyn Peninsula, Wales, she is a transnational artist whose work graphically demonstrates […]

Making beauty: Hosono Hitomi

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This series celebrates the work of living Japanese artists and craftspeople. Hosono Hitomi makes extraordinary, beautiful ceramic works and her ‘Large Feather Leaves Bowl’ is a highlight of the Museum’s Japanese collection. She painstakingly attached 1,000 individual leaves, the entire process taking one year to complete. The leaves appear to be gently rustling in the wind. The film captures the process of creation and Hitomi describes how she draws on memories of her mother’s garden and family rice fields in Tajimi, Gifu Prefecture, as well as her knowledge of nature in London, where she now lives. Hitomi graduated from Kanazawa College of Art, going on to study at the Royal […]

Biennale Internationale de Vallauris: Création Contemporaine et Céramique

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Arts of Fire, Transformation of Space: Masterworks of Contemporary Japanese Porcelain 7 July-12 November 2012Salle Eden, Place de la Liberation, VallaurisT : + 33 4 93 64 71 83 Contact the BiennaleCity of Vallauris About the Exhibition The Twenty-second International Biennale of Vallauris, which runs from 7 July to the 12 November this year has chosen Japan as its guest country for the first time. The Municipality of Vallauris felt it was appropriate on the Twenty-second Biennale to celebrate excellence in contemporary Japanese porcelain with an exhibition, workshops and events to commemorate the resilience of Japan and Japanese ceramic artists after the Great Eastern Earthquake of last year. They have […]