Corfu Museum of Asian Art

Japanese Art Collection

General Description

The museum’s collection of Japanese art consists of about 6,200 items. The bulk of the collection comes from the Manos bequest (1927) and Hatzivassiliou bequest (1974)
The antiquities date from 10.500 to 300 BC to the 19th century AD. The Museum’s collection covers all periods of Japanese art as the origins of Japanese culture reach as far as the 6th century AD, while its continuation includes contemporary works of art, such as ceramics, which are made in the traditional manner by famous artists, known as living national treasures.

The art of Japanese painting is presented through works from the Hatzivassiliou and Manos collections in the west wing of the first floor of the Museum. The objects, folding screens, scroll paintings, calligraphy scrolls, and ukiyo-e woodcuts, date from 17th to the 19th century. The collection includes one of the few surviving paintings of Sharaku and a copy of the school Kano school screens that adorned Nijo Castle. Their great artistic importance resulted in their being exhibited, together with other items from the Museum, in the Edo-Tokyo Museum in 2009 and in Paris at the Maison de la culture du Japon à Paris in 2011.

In April of 2015 the Corfu Museum of Asian Art introduced seven new galleries to the public dedicated to Japanese arts and cultures. The exhibition includes the display of objects long-held in the collection as well as a selection of materials only recently donated. The tour begins with exhibits from prehistoric period (13,500 BC-552 AD) followed by the introduction to Buddhism. The Way of Tea, the art of Noh and Kyogen theatre, the life of a geisha and the power of Samurai warriors during the Edo period (1600-1868), allow visitors to explore and gain a better understanding of the rise and development of Japanese arts and cultures.

History

-30.000
-30.000
Before 30,000 BC - 13,500 BC

PALEOLITHIC PERIOD

Land bridges to Asian mainland. First people arrive in Japan. Use of stone tools.
-13.500
-13.500
13,500 BC - 500 BC

JOMON PERIOD

Hunting and gathering. Ceramic culture. Sοme settlement.
-500
-500
500 BC - AD 250

YAYOI PERIOD

Wet rice cultivation. Bronze and iron working. Contacts with China.
250
250
AD 250 - 552

KOFUN (TOMB) PERIOD

Building of great tombs. Military and horse-riding culture. Links with Korean peninsula.
552
552
AD 552 - 710

ASUKA PERIOD

Introduction of Buddhism and writing. Embassies to China. Political centralisation, law and coinage modelled on China.
710
710
7AD 710 - 794 AD

NARA PERIOD

Capital at Heijô (Nara). Building of Great Buddha Hall and Tôdaiji temple. First written histories of Japan.
794
794
AD 794 - 1185

HEIAN PERIOD

Capital of Heian (Kyoto). Cultural flowering of the imperial court. Court literature and poetry. Dominance of Tantric and Pure Land Buddhist sects. Suspension of official embassies to China (AD 894).
1185
1185
AD 1185 - 1333

KAMAKURA PERIOD

Establishment of military government by samurai at Kamakura. Introduction of Zen (Chan) culture from China. Attempted invasions by Mongols (1274-81).
1333
1333
AD 1333 - 1392

NANBOKUCHΟ PERIOD (Northern and Southern Courts)

Emperor Go-Daigo and Emperor Kogon establish rival imperial courts at Yoshino and Kyoto. Ashikaga shoguns established in Kyoto.
1392
1392
AD 1392 - 1573

MUROMACHI PERIOD

Two imperial courts reunited in Kyoto. Development of Zen culture, Nô drama and the tea ceremony. Age of warring samurai lords. Arrival of Portuguese (1543), Christianity and firearms.
1573
1573
AD 1573 - 1600

MOMOYAMA PERIOD

Reunification of Japan by samurai warlords Nobunaga and Hideyoshi. Many castles are built. Unsuccessful invasions of Korea (1592) and China (1597).
1600
1600
AD 1600 - 1868

EDO PERIOD

Tokugawa shoguns establish samurai government in Edo; bans on Christianity and travel abroad; Regulated international relations; Flowering of urban culture, Kabuki theatre and ukiyo-e (floating world art); US forces renewal of foreign contacts and trade (1853-4).
1868
1868
AD 1868 - 1912

MEIJI ERA

Samurai government overthrown in the name of the Meiji emperor who moves capital to Edo (renamed Tokyo); Modernisation and selective introduction of Western institutions; Wars with China and Russia and beginnings of East Asian empire.
1912
1912
AD 1912 - 1926

TASHO ERA

Industrialisation and modernisation of cities, Particularly after Great Kantô earthquake of 1923; parliamentary democracy.
1926
1926
AD 1926 - 1989

SHOWA ERA

Expansion of East - Asian empire; Asia and pacific wars; Defeat and reconstruction; period of high economic growth.
1989
1989
AD 1989 - present.

HEISEI ERA

Economic recession and recovery. International influence of traditional Japanese culture.
Japanese Art Collection | Museum of Asian Art Corfu

Thematic units

Paintings
Traditional folding screens (byobu)

The term “byobu” refers to all traditional Japanese screens. Folding screens comprise several panels, joined together and decorated with painted pictures or calligraphy.

Painted scrolls

A kakemono, «hanging», is a Japanese scroll painting or calligraphy mounted usually with silk fabric edges on a flexible backing, so that it can be rolled for storage.

Engraving
Engraving

The term ukiyo-e or “pictures of the floating world” was originally related to a Buddhist view of the ephemeral human existence. However, from the 17th to the 19th century it eventually came to suggest a hedonistic approach of the present, the latest fashions, the search for elegance and the everyday life of Edo’s townsmen (modern Tokyo).

Ceramics
Ceramics

From prehistoric times, Japan was one of the most important cultural centres of the Asian continent. Located opposite China and Korea, there were many influences from the Asian mainland, which, after having assimilated indigenous elements, took on a new form and developed into the unique Japanese culture.

Art of the Edo period
Art of the Edo period - Samurai

With the transfer of the military administrative centre of the Tokugawa Shoguns to Edo, today’s Tokyo, the Tokugawa or Edo period began (1603-1868).

Art of the Edo period - Noh Theatre

With the transfer of the military administrative centre of the Tokugawa Shoguns to Edo, today’s Tokyo, the Tokugawa or Edo period began (1603-1868).

Masterpieces of Japanese Painting & Engraving

Matsumoto Kōshirō IV
as Kakogawa Honzō and
Matsumoto Yosenaburō as Konami
Japanese Art Collection | Museum of Asian Art Corfu
Kansei 7 era (1795) Fan painting, ink and colour on bamboo paper 17.4 x 46.6 cm, h. 22.4cm Artist’s signature: Tōshūsai Sharaku ga Manos collection (No 6203)
Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), ‘South Wind, Clear Sky’, from the series ‘Thirty – Six Views of Mount Fuji’
Japanese Art Collection | Museum of Asian Art Corfu
End of Bunsei (1818-30) to early Tempō era (1830-44) Horizontal ōban, colour woodblock 25.0 x 37.7 cm Artist’s signature: Hokusai Aratame Iitsu hitsu Publisher: Nishimura Yohachi Manos collection (No 7599)
Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), ‘Snowy Morning at Koishikawa’, from the series ‘Thirty – Six Views of Mount Fuji’
Japanese Art Collection | Museum of Asian Art Corfu
End of Bunsei (1818-30) to early Tempō era (1830-44) Horizontal ōban, colour woodblock 25.0 x 37.7 cm Artist’s signature: Zen Hokusai hitsu Publisher: Nishimura Yohachi Manos collection (No 7607)
Kikukawa Eizan (1787-1867),
Three Modern Beauties
Cooling in the Evening Breeze
Japanese Art Collection | Museum of Asian Art Corfu
Bunka era (1804-8) Ōban triptych, colour woodblock 39.0 x 27.1, 39.0 x 27.2, 39.1 x 26.5 cm Artist’s signature: Kikukawa Eizan hitsu, Eizan hitsu Publisher: Yamada Shōjirō Manos collection (No 7057-9)
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Tuesday: closed