Oribe and the Arts of Sixteenth-Century Japan
October 21, 2003–January 11, 2004
Accompanied by a catalogue
This exhibition explores the genesis of the dramatic stylistic changes in Japanese art during the brief but brilliant Momoyama period (1573–1615), which witnessed the struggles of ambitious warlords for control of the long-splintered country and Japan's first encounter with the West. The first comprehensive examination of the subject in the West, the exhibition presents nearly two hundred objects—paintings, ceramics, lacquerware, and textiles from public and private collections in Japan, the United States, and Canada—that together illustrate the political, economic, and social forces underlying the unprecedented changes in the arts and aesthetics in late sixteenth-century Japan. Chief among these forces was Furuta Oribe's (1543/44–1615) innovative approach to the practice of the tea ceremony, culminating in the unique development of the strikingly bold and colorful ceramics known as Oribe. The new creative energy that marked this period found expression not only in Oribe ceramics but in all the arts, which with their shared motifs, designs, and compositions evidence a collaboration among artists never before witnessed in the history of Japanese art.