A Secret Beauty: The Spirit of Japanese Maki-e

Key information

10:30 am to 5:00 pm
Brunei Gallery
Exhibition Rooms
Event type

About this event

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.  In recognition of his outstanding technique and the originality of his work, he has been elected Director of the Japan Art Crafts Association, and Councilor of the Association of Japanese Cultural Properties on Lacquer work.  For half a century, he has produced both traditional and contemporary lacquer work maintaining the highest technical and artistic standards.

Related Events

Gallery Talks with Demonstration 13:00 - 15:00, Thursday 11th July 2019.

Related Course

A Secret Beauty: Study Day on Japanese Lacquer - 09.45 – 16.00 13 July 2019

Objects From The Exhibition