Opening Exhibition – Autumn 2012


The Japanese tea ceremony is possibly one of the world’s most elaborate ways of welcoming a guest. The four principles formulated by Sen no Rikyū 千利休 (1522-1591) for the ‘way of the tea’ in the words wakei seijaku 和敬清寂 could also be regarded as appropriate criteria for an art gallery:

harmony (wa 和), between guest and host and in the selection of art works;
respect (kei 敬), for humans and expressed within the attentive handling of the objects;
purity (sei 清), meant as cleanliness and order, but within the heart too, in the sense of sincerity;
calmness (jaku 寂), which should be understood here as contemplative viewing of the art works and the resulting insight and serenity.

Against this background, the gallery’s opening exhibition is bringing together a small number of carefully selected tea utensils. Among the exhibition’s highlights is a tea bowl by Shigaraki potter Ueda Juhō 上田寿方, who is much-admired and prized for his enthusiasm in following and preserving the traditions of Shigaraki pottery, an excellent incense case (kōgo 香合) by the twice Nitten awardee and later juror, Taniguchi Ryōzō 谷口良三 as well as a rare Bizen pottery tea caddy (chaire 茶入) by Masamune Moriyasu 正宗杜康.

But central to the idea of this exhibition is a single lacquer work by Yamazaki Geishū 山崎迎舟, the father of the well-respected lacquer master Yamazaki Mushū 山崎夢舟. The black flat tea caddy (hira-natsume 平棗) is coated with silver powder on the inside. The top is decorated with a festive maki-e ornamental knot, joining together three differently-patterned ribbons. These patterns are the very positive symbols of paulownia (empress tree), chrysanthemum, cherry blossoms, maple leaves and stylized branches of pine tree, as well as turtle shell and waves.

The depiction of a festive ornamental knot shall reflect on the occasion of our gallery’s opening exhibition the wish for a good long-lasting relationship for the future.

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