The Unique Influence of Japanese Meiji Art on European Modern & Contemporary Art
This piece is attributed to Suzuki Chokichi, one of the heroic figures of Meiji craft, who was appointed Teishitsu Gigeiin (Artist to the Imperial Household) in 1896.
Monumental in size (height 226cm), this pair of large bronze figures of samurai warriors, each dressed in richly brocaded clothes and wearing full armour, exemplify the grandeur of Meiji imperial art.
The Buddhist symbolism projected through this incense burner (koro) gives an insight into a spiritual aspect of the Japanese character at the time of the Meiji Restoration, as well as exemplifying Japanese aspirations abroad.
This Tokyo-school bronze figure of a women weighing mushrooms was produced by Kaniya Kuniharu, one of the foremost craftsmen in cast bronze of the Meiji period.
Professor Nasser D Khalili explains the realism of Japanese silk textiles from the Meiji period. From Sky Arts documentary "National Treasures: The Art of Collecting".
Panoramic view of Toshogo Mauseleum
The iconic architecture of the Mausoleum is captured in unparalleled detail.
Togosho is a Shinto shrine built in 1617 as a mausoleum of the first Shogun.
The Mausoleum's harmony with the breathtaking nature that surrounds it is captured skilfully using various forms of layering and toning.
Signed Koto with seal Aoki
The seascape, particularly a close-up view of waves, seems to have become a popular subject during the Meiji era. This may have been symbolic of the country's opening up to the world beyond the Japanese sea coast.
Layers of long and short stitch in very fine flat silk thread are used to express the volume and movement of the waves and the seagulls flying overhead.
Many Japanese silk textiles achieve the effect of the realist oil painting.
Is it an oil painting?
Only on zooming in considerably, we can see the silk needlework which reveals the medium.
Lions - a popular symbol of strength and grace in Meiji Japan - were depicted in astonishing realism in designs that was embroidered in multiple layers of long and short stitch and lines of staggered diagonals.
Let us focus on this elderly man...
A much closer look reveals that this 'padded silk' textile was made using recycled Kimono silks as well as specially cut material which was stitched onto the textile to provide a unique three-dimensional affect.
Details such as hands and faces were applied in gofer shell powder and hand-painted on.
Professor Khalili explains the inimitability of Japanese Meiji vases.
Japanese cloisonné enamels were a technical triumph of the Meiji (1868–1912) and Taisho (1912–26) periods, during which three strands of stylistic evolution took place: the conservative, the pictorial and the exotic.
A video showcasing some of the vases exhibited at the "BEYOND IMAGINATION: Treasures of Imperial Japan from the Khalili Collection 19th to early 20th century" exhibition at the Moscow Kremlin Museums in 2017.
This cloisonné enamel tray with a flowering prunus-stem growing from a gnarled tree-stump and a partially cloud-obscured moon in the background has a composition and mood which later influenced Van Gogh, Gaugin and other Impressionists.
This vase displays the traditional aesthetic values and deep appreciation of nature which influenced artists of Van Gogh’s generation.
Whether it be sensitivity to abstraction, harmony, or even the chaos contained in a flower, echoes of Japanese art are to be found everywhere.
In this charming earthenware piece from 1910 by Yabu Meizan, a procession of insects, lizards and frogs is joyfully taking place. This tradition of caricaturing various human activities has a long history in Japan.
Lifelike and whimsical depictions of insects, along with the subtle humour inherited in these depictions which inverts common negative associations in the west, certainly seemed to have been yet another part of the inspiration to painters of the period.
In a painting simply titled ‘Roses’ from 1890 by Van Gogh a charming little beetle can be seen, which feels almost as if it belongs in the parade.
Idyllic bridges were a frequent motif in both Meiji -era Japanese textiles and Western impressionist paintings.
Van Gogh's swirly sky in Starry Night was a pioneering method of depicting celestial dynamics.
The swirly background was also a common composition in Japanese silk textiles.
Professor Nasser D. Khalili has assembled the world’s greatest collection of Meiji decorative art, comprising over 1,600 pieces of metalwork, enamels, lacquerwork, and ceramics, works by most of the known masters from the middle of the 19th century to the early 20th century. It is comparable in its extent only to that held by the Japanese Imperial family.
Colonial Pictures (for Sky Arts)
Moscow Kremlin Museums
Collection Curator: Dror Elkvity
Digital Exhibit curated by Waqas Ahmed