Exhibition Type: Japanese Art

157 objects



#CityViewLondon Thames River traffic is shown in Whistler’s Brown and Silver: Old Battersea Bridge and this recent photograph of the present-day bridge. Barges still pass under the 1890 bridge, which replaced the original wooden structure painted by Whistler in the 1860s. #CityViewTokyo To the north of Ryōgoku Bridge on the east bank of the Sumida …

City View


Explore Tokyo and London as seen by Kiyochika and Whistler in the nineteenth century. On September 3, 1868, the city of Edo ceased to exist. Renamed Tokyo (Eastern Capital) by Japan’s new rulers, the city exemplified the nation’s drive toward modernization. Railroads, steamships, gaslights, telegraph lines, and large brick buildings radically changed the cityscape. Kiyochika …





ami: net bag (made for a tea-leaf storage jar) bokuseki: calligraphies by Chan/Zen monks cha:tea chaire: small ceramic jar for powdered tea chakaiki: tea diary chanoyu: Japanese practice centered on drinking powdered green tea and appreciating the objects used therein chanoyu nikki: tea diary chatsubo: tea-leaf storage jar chawan: tea bowl chio: lug cords (made …

Sixteenth-Century Textual References to Chigusa


Translated by Andrew M. Watsky 1. Accounting of Karamono [Karamono oyoso no kazu], circa 1570–73.1 Recorded in the entry for objects owned by Jū no Sōho. Chikusa, the ōtsubo 千(ち)草(くさ)ノ(の)大(おお)ツボ 2. Tennōjiya Sōgyū, as recorded on Genki 4 [1573].1.24 in his tea diary of gatherings he attended as a guest, Sōgyū takaiki.2 The host was Jū no Sōho; the guests were Sōeki …



Introduction | Images | 16th Century Textual References | Glossary

The Way of the Kami


Freer, gallery 8 The deities standing upon the Floating Bridge of Heaven pushed down the jeweled spear and stirred with it, whereupon . . . the brine that dripped down from the end of the spear was piled up and became an island. —Excerpt from the Kojiki, translated by Basil Hall Chamberlain The Japanese islands …



The Washington Post, “Art review: ‘Kiyochika: Master of the Night’” By Michael O’Sullivan Blouin ArtInfo, “Shows That Matter: Kiyochika’s Prints Show Tokyo in Transition” by Alanna Martinez Washington Diplomat, “’Master of the Night’ Sheds Light on City’s Transformation,” by Sarah Alaoui McClatchy, “A forgotten Japanese ‘master of light’ printmaker, Kiyochika, finally gets his due,” by Tish Wells Smithsonian Magazine, “Tokyo in Transition: Woodblock Prints …

Dream Worlds


It was a casual glance towards a window display on West 57th Street in Manhattan, in 1931, that lured me into the world of the Japanese print. In the showcase were several landscape prints by Kawase Hasui, renderings that spoke to my youthful experience of nature.  Here was someone who felt rain and snow and …

The Historical Buddha and Friends


Freer, gallery 8 Buddhism’s history began in the fifth century BCE with the birth of Siddhartha Gautama, the Historical Buddha, known as Shakyamuni in Sanskrit and Shaka in Japanese. Shakyamuni was a prince who shunned his luxurious life to pursue enlightenment. After trying extreme measures, he discovered that only a middle path between extremes would …