Japanese Crossing Borders
Asia as Dreamed by Craftspeople
By: Dan Grunebaum | May 16, 2012 | Issue: 948 | No Comments | 867 views

Ornament Travel over the Gobi Desert (1937), by Numata Ichiga; Courtesy of The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto

The pan-Asian vision that fueled Japanese expansion in the early 20th century didn’t stop at militarism. Artists and craftsmen were also enthralled with the idea of a pan-Asian identity and often visited Asian countries to study artisanal traditions that were dying in rapidly industrializing Japan. This exhibition presents the results of their studies of nearby Korea, China and Taiwan, based on the ideas of writer and curator Tenshin Okakura (1862-1913), who criticized the westernization of Japan and sought to form a single Asian identity.

Crafts Gallery, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, until Jul 16 (listing).

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