Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Shōin Room

Accession Number:
Shōin Room
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 226
The grand Momoyama spirit is perpetuated in the formal Japanese reception room. Modeled on the principal room at the Kangaku-in, a guest residence built in 1600 at the Onjōji temple near Lake Biwa outside Kyoto, this shōin-style room was built in 1989 by Japanese craftsmen using materials and techniques authentic to the Momoyama period (1573–1615), under the exacting supervision of Kakichi Suzuki, an eminent architectural historian who was than an official of the Japanese Cultural Agency. The refined proportions of the room, with its large alcove (tokonoma), flooring of grass mats (tatami), and decorated sliding doors (fusuma) for walls, marked the culmination of two centuries of developments in interior architecture.

The shōin (literally, “study”) was originally part of a reading room in a Zen monastery fitted with shelves and an alcove near a window. With the increased appreciation and collection of Chinese paintings and utensils during the Muromachi period (1392–1573), the alcove was enlarged and devoted to the display of works of art and the tokonama was developed to constitute an essential feature of Japanese formal rooms. This room’s large size, with its capacious tokonoma filling one wall and its gold-leafed doors defining the others, is characteristic of the grand rooms of the Momoyama era in temples and aristocratic mansions as well as in the ostentatious castles of the newly risen war lords.
Related Objects

The Spiritual Master Padmasambhava

Artist: Date: 14th century
Accession Number: 2012.459
Date: 14th century Medium: Copper alloy, with copper and silver inlay Accession: 2012.459 On view in:Gallery 253

Button or Bead

Artist: Date: 8th–10th century
Accession Number: 40.170.402
Date: 8th–10th century Medium: Jet; incised Accession: 40.170.402 On view in:Gallery 453

Three Gods of Good Fortune Visit the Yoshiwara; or “Scenes of Pleasure at the Height of Spring”

Artist: Chōbunsai Eishi (Japanese, 1756–1829) Date: early 19th century Medium: Handscroll; ink and color on silk Accession: 2015.300.145 On view in:Not on view

Standing Bodhisattva Maitreya

Artist: Date: early 8th century
Accession Number: 2003.593.3a, b
Date: early 8th century Medium: Copper alloy, gilded and silvered, with silver inlay Accession: 2003.593.3a, b On view in:Gallery 237

Button or Bead

Artist: Date: 9th–10th century
Accession Number: 40.170.406
Date: 9th–10th century Medium: Jet; carved, incised, and inlaid with paste Accession: 40.170.406 On view in:Gallery 453