Kan’ei Elegance: Edo-Period Court Culture and Enshu, Ninsei, and Tan’yu
In a nutshell
This exhibition is a beautiful collection of pottery, screens, scrolls, and much more. The Kan’ei period (1624-1644) is described as embodying “subdued elegance” and the exhibition explains the Emperor’s influence on art and its use as a symbol of the Edo Imperial Court. The works of the artists Kobori Enshū, Nonomura Ninsei and Kanō Tan’yū are highlighted.
The Suntory Museum of Art is a jewel box in Tokyo Midtown, or an “artistic oasis in the center of Tokyo,” as explained in the audio guide. The museum uses soft lighting, Japanese paper and flooring made from repurposed whisky cask wood (fitting for a Suntory museum).
English? (labels/audio guides/handouts)
The introductory and chapter information is in English but all the other historical and object information is in Japanese only. Therefore I found the English audio guide to be an absolute must. The entrance to the museum is on the third floor but the audio guide is sold at the exhibition entrance on the fourth floor. So if you put your things in a locker on the third floor, make sure you take the ¥550 with you to pay for it.
It was interesting to learn more about features used during this time period: negative space, more muted color palettes,calligraphy/poetry in the artwork. The white glazed bowl with circle cutouts by Nonomura Ninsei, the one used in the museum’s advertisement for the exhibition, looks especially modern.
Anyone interested in Japanese art will enjoy this in-depth exploration of this specific period in Japanese history.
How far out?
A ten minute walk from the Nogizaka Station on the Chiyoda Line.
How much time?
30 to 45 minutes.
How much money?
¥1,300 for general admission.
April 8, 2018
Rating: make a special trip, see it if you’re in the area or have some free time, see it only if you like this specific type of art
Definitely worth seeing if you’re in the area.